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.t authors have their due, that Time, who Is the author of authors, be not deprived of hia due, 
which i*, farther and farther to discover truth."- I.uiiu 11 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 


1850 and 1851. 


The present performance is, so far as the end could be reached, the fulfillment of a design, 
formed about twenty-seven years ago, of one day presenting to the world, if I might, some- 
thing like a complete grammar of the English language ; not a mere work of criticism, 
nor yet a work too tame, indecisive, and uncritical ; for, in books of either of these sorts, 
our libraries already abound ; not a mere philosophical investigation of what is general or 
universal in grammar, nor yet a minute detail of what forms only a part of our own phi- 
lology ; for either of these plans falls very far short of such a purpose ; not a mere gram- 
matical compend, abstract, or compilation, sorting with other works already before the 
public ; for, in the production of school grammars, the author had early performed his part ; 
and, of small treatises on this subject, we have long had a superabundance rather than 
a lack. 

After about fifteen years devoted chiefly to grammatical studies and exercises, during most 
of which time I had been alternately instructing youth in four different languages, thinking 
it practicable to effect some improvement upon the manuals which explain our own, I pre- 
pared and published, for the use of schools, a duodecimo volume of about three hundred 
pages ; which, upon the presumption that its principles were conformable to the best 
usage, and well established thereby, I entitled, "the Institutes of English Grammar." Of 
this work, which, it is believed, has been gradually gaining in reputation and demand ever 
since its first publication in 1823, there is no occasion to say more here, than that it was 
the result of diligent study, and that it is, essentially, the nucleus, or the groundwork, of 
the present volume. 

AVith much additional labour, the principles contained in the Institutes of English Gram- 
mar, have here been not only reaffirmed and rewritten, but occasionally improved in ex- 
pression, or amplified in their details. New topics, new definitions, new rules, have 
also been added ; and all parts of the subject have been illustrated by a multiplicity of new 
examples and exercises, which it has required a long time to amass and arrange. To the 
main doctrines, also, are here subjoined many new observations and criticisms, which are 
the results of no inconsiderable reading and reflection. 

Regarding it as my business and calling, to work out the above-mentioned purpose as 
circumstances might permit, I have laid no claim to genius, none to infallibility ; but I 
have endeavoured to be accurate, and aspired to be useful ; and it is a part of my plan, that 
the reader of this volume shall never, through my fault, be left in doubt as to the origin of 
any thing it contains. It is but the duty of an author, to give every needful facility for a 
fair estimate of his work ; and, whatever authority there may be for anonymous copying 
in -works on grammar, the precedent is always bad. 

The success of other labours, answerable to moderate wishes, has enabled me to pursue 
this task under favourable circumstances, and with an unselfish, independent aim. Not 
with vainglorious pride, but with reverent gratitude to God, I acknowledge this advantage, 
giving thanks for the signal mercy which has upborne me to the long-continued effort. 
Had the case been otherwise, had the labours of the school-room been still demanded for 
my support, the present large volume would never have appeared. I had desired some 
leisure for the completing of this design, and to it I scrupled not to sacrifice the profits of 
my main employment, as soon as it could be done without hazard of adding an other chap- 
ter to " the Calamities of Authors." 

The nature and design of this treatise are perhaps sufficiently developed in connexion 
with the various topics which are successively treated of in the Introduction. That method 
of teaching, which I conceive to be the best, is also there described. And, in the Gram- 



mar itself, there will be found occasional directions concerning the manner of its use. I 
have hoped to facilitate the study of the English language, not by abridging our grammat- 
ical code, or by rejecting the common phraseology of its doctrines, but by extending the 
former, improving the latter, and establishing both ; but still more, by" furnishing new 
illustrations of the subject, and arranging its vast number of particulars in such order that 
every item may be readily found. 

An other important purpose, which, in the preparation of this work, has been borne con- 
stantly in mind, and judged worthy of very particular attention, was the attempt to settle, 
so far as the most patient investigation and the fullest exhibition of proofs could do it, the 
multitudinous and vexatious disputes which have hitherto divided the sentiments of teachers, 
and made the study of English grammar so uninviting, unsatisfactory, and unprofitable, to 
the student whose taste demands a reasonable degree of certainty. 

" Whenever labour implies the exertion of thought, it does good, at least to the strong : 
when the saving of labour is a saving of thought, it enfeebles. The mind, like the body, 
is strengthened by hard exercise : but, to give this exercise all its salutary effect, it should 
be of a reasonable kind ; it should lead us to the perception of regularity, of order, of prin- 
ciple, of a law. When, after all the trouble we have taken, we merely find anomalies and 
confusion, we are disgusted with what is so uncongenial : and, as our higher faculties have 
not been called into action, they are not unlikely to be outgrown by the lower, and over- 
borne as it were by the underwood of our minds. Hence, no doubt, one of the reasons why 
our language has been so much neglected, and why such scandalous ignorance prevails con- 
cerning its nature and history, is its unattractive, disheartening irregularity : none but Satan 
is fond of plunging into chaos." Philological Museum, (Cambridge, Eng., 1832,) Vol. i, p. 666. 

If there be any remedy for the neglect and ignorance here spoken of, it must be found 
in the more effectual teaching of English grammar. But the principles of grammar can 
never have any beneficial influence over any person's manner of speaking or writing, till by 
some process they are made so perfectly familiar, that he can apply them with all the 
readiness of a native power ; that is, till he can apply them not only to what has been said 
or written, but to whatever he is about to utter. They must present themselves to the 
mind as by intuition, and with the quickness of thought ; so as to regulate his language 
before it proceeds from the lips or the pen. If they come only by tardy recollection, or are 
called to mind but as contingent after-thoughts, they are altogether too late ; and serve 
merely to mortify the speaker or writer, by reminding him of some deficiency or inaccuracy 
which there may then be no chance to amend. 

But how shall, or can, this readiness be acquired? I answer, By a careful attention to 
such exercises as are fitted to bring the learner's knowledge into practice. The student will 
therefore find, that I have given him something to do, as well as something to learn. But, 
by the formules and directions in this work, he is very carefully shown how to proceed ; 
and, if he be a tolerable reader, it will be his own fault, if he does not, by such aid, become 
a tolerable grammarian. The chief of these exercises are the parsing of what is right, and 
the correcting of what is wrong ; both, perhaps, equally important ; and I have intended to 
make them equally easy. To any real proficient in grammar, nothing can be more free 
from embarrassment, than the performance of these exercises, in all ordinary cases. For 
grammar, rightly learned, institutes in the mind a certain knowledge, or process of thought, 
concerning the sorts, properties, and relations, of all the words which can be presented in 
any intelligible sentence ; and, with the initiated, a perception of the construction will 
always instantly follow or accompany a discovery of the sense : and instantly, too, should 
there be a perception of the error, if any of the words are misspelled, misjoined, misapplied, 
or are, in any way, unfaithful to the sense intended. 

Thus it is the great end of grammar, to secure the power of apt expression, by causing 
the principles on which language is constructed, if not to be constantly present to the 
mind, at least to pass through it more rapidly than either pen or voice can utter words. 
And where this .power resides, there cannot but be a proportionate degree of critical skill, 
or of ability to judge of the language of others. Present what you will, grammar directs 
the mind immediately to a consideration of the sense ; and, if properly taught, always 
creates a discriminating taste which is not less offended by specious absurdities, than by 
the common blunders of clownishness. Every one who has any pretensions to this art, knows 
that, to parse a sentence, is but to resolve it according to one's understanding of its import ; 
and it is equally clear, that the power to correct an erroneous passage, usually demands or 
implies a knowledge of the author's thought. 

But, if parsing and correcting are of so great practical importance as our first mention of 
them suggests, it may be well to be more explicit here concerning them. The pupil who 
cannot perform these exercises both accurately and fluently, is not truly prepared to per- 
form them at all, and has no right to expect from any body a patient hearing. A slow and 
faltering rehearsal of words clearly prescribed, yet neither fairly remembered nor under- 
standingly applied, is as foreign from parsing or correcting, as it is from elegance of diction, 
Divide and conquer, is the rule here, as in many other cases. Begin with what is simple ; 


practise it till it becomes familiar ; and then proceed. No child ever learned to speak by 
any other process. Hard things become easy by use ; and skill is gained by little and little. 

Of the whole method of parsing, it should be understood, that it is to be a critical exer- 
cise in utterance, as well as an evidence of previous study, an exhibition of the learner's 
attainments in the practice, as well as in the theory, of grammar ; and that, in any toler- 
able performance of this exercise, there must be an exact adherence to the truth of facts, 
as they occur in the example, and to the forms of expression, -which are prescribed as 
models, in the book. For parsing is, in no degree, a work of invention ; but wholly an 
exercise, an exertion of skill. It is, indeed, an exercise for all the powers of the mind, ex- 
cept the inventive faculty. Perception, judgement, reasoning, memory, and method, are 
indispensable to the performance. Nothing is to be guessed at, or devised, or uttered at 
random. If the learner can but rehearse the necessary definitions and rules, and perform 
the simplest exercise of judgement in their application, he cannot but perceive what he 
must say in order to speak the truth in parsing. His principal difficulty is in determining 
the parts of speech. To lessen this, the trial should commence with easy sentences, also 
with few of the definitions, and with definitions that have been perfectly learned. This 
difficulty being surmounted, let him follow the forms prescribed for the several praxes of 
this work, and he shall not err. The directions and examples given at the head of each 
exercise, will show him exactly the number, the order, and the proper phraseology, of the 
particulars to be stated; so that he may go through the explanation with every advantage 
which a book can afford. Tacre is no hope of him whom these aids will not save from 
" plunging into chaos." 

" Of all the works of man, language is the most enduring, and partakes the most of eter- 
nity. And, as our own language, so far as thought can project itself into the future, seems 
likely to be coeval with the world, and to spread vastly beyond even its present immeas- 
urable limits, there cannot easily be a nobler object of ambition than to purify and better 
it." Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 665. 

It was some ambition of the kind here meant, awakened by a discovery of the scandal- 
ous errors and defects which abound in all our common English grammars, that prompted 
me to undertake the present work. Now, by the bettering of a language, I understand 
little else than the extensive teaching of its just forms, according to analogy and the general 
custom of the most accurate writers. This teaching, however, may well embrace also, or 
be combined with, an exposition of the various forms of false grammar by which inaccurate 
writers have corrupted, if not the language itself, at least their own style in it. 

With respect to our present English, I know not whether any other improvement of it 
ought to be attempted, than the avoiding and correcting of those improprieties and unwar- 
rantable anomalies by which carelessness, ignorance, and. affectation, are ever tending to 
debase it, and the careful teaching of its true grammar, according to its real importance in 
education. What further amendment is feasible, or is worthy to engage attention, I will 
not pretend to say ; nor do I claim to have been competent to so much as was manifestly 
desirable within these limits. But what I lacked in ability, I have endeavoured to supply 
by diligence ; and what I could conveniently strengthen by better authority than my own, 
I have not failed to support with all that was due, of names, guillemots, and references. 

Like every other grammarian, I stake my reputation as an author, upon " a certain set 
of opinions," and a certain manner of exhibiting them, appealing to the good sense of my 
readers for the correctness of both. All contrary doctrines are unavoidably censured by 
him who attempt? to sustain his own ; but, to grammatical censures, no more importance 
ought to be attached than what belongs to grammar itself. He who cares not to be ac- 
curate in the use of language, is inconsistent with himself, if he be offended at verbal criti- 
cism ; and he who is displeased at finding his opinions rejected, is equally so, if he cannot 
prove them to be well founded. It is only in cases susceptible of a rule, that any writer 
can be judged deficient. I can censure no man for differing from me, till I can show him 
a principle which he ought to follow. According to Lord Kames, the standard of taste, 
both in arts and in manners, is " the common sense of mankind," a principle founded in 
the universal c eviction of a common nature in our species. (See Elements of Criticism, 
Chap, xxv, Vol. ii, p. 3 >J.) If this is so, the doctrine applies to grammar as fully as to 
any thing about whio.h criticism may concern itself. 

But, to the discerning student or teacher, I owe an apology for the abundant condescen- 
sion with which I have noticed in this volume the works of unskillful grammarians. For 
men of sense have no natural inclination to dwell upon palpable offences against taste and 
scholarship ; nor can they be easily persuaded to approve the course of an author who 
makes it his business to criticise petty productions. And is it not a fact, that grammatical 
authorship has sunk so low, that no man who is capable of perceiving its multitudinous 
errors, dares now stoop to notice the most flagrant of its abuses, or the most successful of 
its abusers ? And, of the quackery which is now so prevalent, what can be a more natural 
effect, than a very general contempt for the study of grammar ? My apology to the reader 
therefore is, that, a-j the honour of our language demands correctness in all the manuals 


prepared for schools, a just exposition of any that are lacking in this point, is a service due 
to the study of English grammar, if not to the authors in question. 

The exposition, however, that I have made of the errors and defects of other writers, is 
only an incident, or underpart, of the scheme of this treatise. Nor have I anywhere ex- 
hibited blunders as one that takes delight in their discovery. My main design has been, to 
prepare a work which, by its own completeness and excellence, should deserve the title 
here chosen. But, a comprehensive code of false grammar being confessedly the most ef- 
fectual means of teaching what is true, I have thought fit to supply this portion of my 
book, not from anonymous or uncertain sources, but from the actual text of other authors, 
and chiefly from the works of professed grammarians. 

" In what regards the laws of grammatical purity," says Dr. Campbell, " the violation is 
much more conspicuous than the observance." See Philosophy of Rhetoric, p. 190. It there- 
fore falls in with my main purpose, to present to the public, in the following ample work, 
a condensed mass of special criticisms, such as is not elsewhere to be found in any language. 
And, if the littleness of the particulars to which the learner's attention is called, be reck- 
oned an objection, the author last quoted has furnished for me, as well as for himself, a good 
apology. " The elements which enter into the composition of the hugest bodies, are sub- 
tile and inconsiderable. The rudiments of every art and science exhibit at first, to the 
learner, the appearance of littleness and insignificancy. And it is by attending to such re- 
flections, as to a superficial observer would appear minute and hypercritical, that language 
must be improved, and eloquence perfected." Ib. p. 244. 


LYNN, MASS., 1851. 



Chapter I. Of the Science of Gram- 
mar : 

Chapter II. Of Grammatical Authorship ; 

Chapter III. Of Grammatical Success 
and Fame ; 

Chapter IV. Of the Origin of Language ; 

Chapter V. Of the Power of Language ; 

Chapter VI. Of the Origin and History 
ofthe English Language ; . . . . 





Chapter VII. Changes and Specimens of 

the English Language; 63. 

Chapter VIII. Of the Grammatical 

Study of the English Language ; . 76. 
Chapter IX. Of the Best Method of 

Teaching Grammar; 8-5! 

Chapter X. Of Grammatical Definitions ; 99. 
Chapter XI. Brief Notices of the 

Schemes of certain Grammars ; . . 114. 


Introductory Definitions, and General Divison of the Subject; 


Chapter I. Of Letters; . . . . 

I. Names of the Letters ; . . . 

II. Classes of the Letters ; . . 

III. Powers of the Letters; . . 

IV. Forms of the Letters; . . 
Rules for the use of Capitals ; . . 
Errors concerning Capitals ; . . 
Promiscuous Errors of Capitals ; 

Chapter II. Of Syllables; . . . 

Diphthongs and Triphthongs ; . 

Rules for Syllabication; . . . 

Observations on Syllabication ; . 

Errors concerning Syllables ; . . 


Chapter III. Of Words; 

Rules for the Figure of Words ; 

Observations on Figure of Words ; . 

On the Identity of Words; .... 

Errors concerning Figure ; . . . . 

Promiscuous Errors in Figure ; . . . 
Chapter IV. Of Spelling; 

Rules for Spelling; 

Observations on Spelling ; . . . . 

Errors in Spelling ; 

Promiscuous Errors in Spelling ; . . 
Chapter V. Questions on Orthography ; 
Chapter VI. Exercises for Writing ; . 


Introductory Definitions; 213. 

Chapter I Of the Parts of Speech 213. 

Observations on Parts of Speech ; 214. 

Examples for Parsing, 1'r.ixis I ; 216. 

Chapter II. Of the Articles; . . 218. 

Observations on the Articles ; . 219. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis II; 225. 

Errors concerning Articles; . . 227. 

Chapter III. Of Nouns; 230. 

Classes of Nouns; 231. 

Modifications of Nouns; 231. 

Persons; 231. 

Numbers; 233 

Genders; 214. 

Cases; 217. 

The Declension of Nouns; .... 253. 

>'\:imples for I'iirsinz, Praxis III; . 2o3. 

Errors concerning Nouns ; . . . . 2-55. 

Chapter IV. Of Adjectives; .... 2)7. 

Classes of Adjectives ; 2->8. 

Modifications of Adjectives; . . , . 26-5. 

Regular Comparison ; . . . . 
Comparison by Adverbs ; . . . 
Irregular Comparison ; . . . 
Examples for Parsing, Praxis IV ; 
Errors concerning Adjectives ; 
Chapter V. Of Pronouns; . . . 
Classes of the Pronouns ; . . . 
Modifications of the Pronouns; . 
The Declension of Pronouns; 
Examples for Parsing, Praxis V ; . 
Errors concerning Pronouns; 
Chapter VI. Of Verbs ; . . . . 

Clis-os of Verbs ; 

Modifications of Verbs ; . . . . 


Tenses ; 

Persons and Numbers ; . . . 
The Conjugation of Verbs ; . . 
I. Simple Form, Active or Neuter 
First Kxumple, the verb LOVE ; 
Second Example, the verb SEE ; 







Third Example, the verb BE; . . . 355. 

' ; II. Compound or Progressive Form ; . 358. 

Fourth Example, to BE READING ; 358. 

Observations on Compound Forms ; . 360. 

III. Form of Passive Verbs ; . . . . 368. 
Fifth Example, to BE LOVED; . . 368. 

IV. Form of Negation ; 370. 

V. Form of Question ; 371. 

VI. Form of Question with Negation; 371. 
Irregular Verbs, with Obs. and List ; . 373. 
Redundant Verbs with Obs. and List ; 377. 
Defective Verbs, with Obs. and List ; . 383. 
Examples for Parsing, Praxis VI ;. . 385. 
Errors concerning Verbs ; 388. 

Chapter VII. Of Participles ; . . . . 390. 

Classes of Participles; 3 2. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis VII ; . 397. 

Errors concerning Participles ; . . . 399. 

Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs ; . . . . 401. 


Classes of Adverbs; 402. 

Modification of Adverbs ; 405. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis VIII ; . 407. 

Errors concerning Adverbs ; . . . . 409. 

Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions ; . . . 409. 

Classes of Conjunctions ; 411. 

List of the Conjunctions ; 411. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis IX; . . 413. 

Errors concerning Conjunctions ; . . 415. 

Chapter X. Of Prepositions ; . . . . 416. 

List of the Prepositions ; . . . . . 421. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis X ; . . 424. 

Errors concerning Prepositions ; . . . 426. 

Chapter XL Of Interjections ; . . . . 427. 

List of the Interjections; ..... 428. 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis XI ;. . 429. 

Errors concerning Interjections ; . . 431. 
Chapter XII. Questions on Orthography; 431. 

Chapter XIII. Exercises for Writing; . 436. 


Introductory Definitions ; .... 
Chapter I. Of Sentences; .... 

The Rules of Syntax ; 

General or Critical Obs. on Syntax ; 
The Analyzing of Sentences^ . 
The several Methods of Analysis ; 

Observations on Methods of Analysis ; 
* Examples for Parsing, Praxis XII 
Chapter II. Of the Articles ; . . 

Rule I. Syntax of Articles ; . . 

Observations on Rule I ; . . . 
Notes to Rule I ; 17 of them ; . 

False Syntax under Notes to Rule I 
Chapter III. Of Cases, or Nouns ; 

Rule II. Of Nominatives ; . . 

Observations on Rule II ; ... 

False Syntax under Rule II ; . 

Rule III. Of Apposition; . . 

Observations on Rule III ; . . 

False Synax under Rule III; . 

Rule IV. Of Possessives ; . . 

Observations on Rule IV; 

Notes to Rule IV ; 5 of them ; . . . 

False Syntax under Notes to Rule IV ; 

Rule v. Of Objectives after Verbs; 

Observations on Rule V ; 

Notes to Rule V ; 8 of them ; . . . 

False Syntax under Rule V ; . , . . 

Rule VI. Of Same Cases; . . . . 

Observations on Rule VI ; .... 

Notes to Rule VI ; 2 of them ; , . . 

False Syntax under Rule VI ; . . . 

Rule VII. Of Objectives after Prep- 
ositions ; 

Observations on Rule VII ; . . . . 

Note to Rule VII; 1 only; . . . 

False Syntax under Rule VII; . . . 

Rule VIII. Of Nominatives Absolute ; 

Observations on Rule VIII ; . . . . 

False Syntax under Rule VIII; . . . 
Chapter IV. Of Adjectives; 

Rule IX. Of Adjectives ; 

Observations on Rule IX ; 

Notes to Rule IX; 16 of them; . . . 

False Svntax under Rule IX ; . . . 
Chapter V. Of Pronouns ; 

Rule X. Pronoun and Antecedent ; . 

Observations on Rule X ; 

Notes to Rule X; 16 of them; . . . 

False Syntax under Rule X ; . . . . 

Rule XI. Pronoun & Collective Noun; 

Observations on Rule XI ; 

Notes to Rule XI ; 2 of them ; . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XI ; . . . 

Rule XII. Pronoun after AND ; . . . 



Observations on Rule XII ; . . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XII; . . . 

Rule XIII. Pronoun after OR or NOR ; 

Observations on Rule XIII ; . . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XIII ; . . . 

Chapter VI. Of Verbs ; 

Rule XIV. Verb and Nominative ; . 

Observations on Rule XIV ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XIV; 10 of them; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XIV ; . . . 

Rule XV. Verb and Collective Noun; 

Observations on Rule XV ; 

Note to Rule X V ; 1 only; . . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XV ; . . . 

Rule XVI. The Verb after AND ; . . 

Observations-on Rule XVI ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XVI ; 7 of them ; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XVI ; . . . 

Rule XVII. The Verb with OR or 

Observations on Rule XVII ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XVII ; 15 of them ; . 

False Syntax under Rule XVII ; . . 

Rule XV III. Of Infinitives with To ; 

Observations on Rule XVIII ; . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XVIII ; . . 

Rule XIX. Of Infinitives without To; 

Observations on Rule XIX ; . . . . 

False Syntax under Rule XIX; . . . 

Chapter VII. Of Participles; . . . . 

Rule XX. Syntax of Participles ; . . 

Observations on Rule XX ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XX ; 13 of them ; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XX ; . . . 

Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs ; . . . . 

Rule XXL Relation of Adverbs; . . 

Observations on Rule XXI ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XXI ; 10 of them ; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XXI; . . . 

Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions ; . . . 

Rule XXII. Use of Conjunctions; . 

Observations on Rule XXII ; . . . . 

Notes to Rule XXII; 8 of them; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XXII ; . . 

Chapter X. Of Prepositions ; . . . . 

Rule XXIIL Use of Prepositions ; . 

Observations on Rule XXIII ; . . . 

Notes to Rule XXIII ; 5 of them ; . . 

False Syntax under Rule XXIII ; . . 

Chapter XI. Of Interjections ;. . . . 

Rule XXIV. For Interjections; . . 

Observations on Rule XXIV ; . . . 

False Syntax Promiscuous ; . . . . 

Examples for Parsing, Praxis XIII ; . 

Chapter XII. General Review; . . 





False Syntax for a General Review; 
Chapter X III. General Rule of Syntax ; 
Critical Notes to the General Rule ; 
General Observations on the Syntax ; . 
False .Syntax under the General Rule ; 



False Syntax under the Critical Notes ; 

Promiscuous Examples of False Syn- 
tax ; 

Chapter XtV. Questions on Syntax; 
Chapter XV. Exercises for Writing ; . 




Introductory Definition and Obs. ; . . . 742 

Chapter I. Punctuation ; 743. 

Obs. on Pauses, Points, Names, &c. ; . 743. 

Section I. The Convna ; its 17 Rules ; 74f>. 

Errors concerning the Comma ; . . . 7 "> ' 

Section II. Tne Semicolon ; its 3 Rules ; 7-53. 

Errors concerning the Semicolon ; . . 759. 

Mixed Examples of Error ; . . . . 761. 

Section III. The Colon ; its 3 Rules ; 760. 

Errors concerning the Colon; . . . . 761. 

Mixed Examples of Error; .... 762. 

Section IV. The Period ; its 3 Rules ; 763. 

Observations on the Period; .... 763. 

Errors concerning the Period ; . . . 76-). 

Mixed Examples of Error; 766. 

Section V. The Dash ; its 3 Rules ; . 766. 

Observations on the Dash ; .... 767. 

Errors concerning the Dash ; . . . . 767. 

Mixed Examples of Error ; 768. 

Section VI. The Eroteme ; its 3 Rules ; 768. 

Observations on the Eroteme ; . . . 769. 

Errors concerning the Eroteme ; . . . 770. 

Mixed Examples of Error ; 770. 

Section VII. The Ecphoneme; its 

3 Rules ; 771. 

Errors concerning the Ecphoneme; . 771. 

Mixed Examples of Error; 772 

Section VIII. The Curves ; and their 

2 Rules ; 773. 

Errors concerning the Curves ; . . . 773. 

Mixed Examples of Error ; 77 1. 

Section IX. The Other Marks ; . . . 774. 

Mixed Examples of Error; 776. 

Bad English Badly Pointed; .... 777. 

Chapter 1 1. Of Utterance; 779. 

Section I. Of Articulation; .... 779. 

Article I. Of the Definition :. . . 779. 

Article IT. Of Good Articulation ; . 779. 

Section II. Of Pronunciation; . . . 780. 

Article I. Powers of Letters; . . . 
Article I [.Of Quantity ; . . . . 

Article III Of Accent; 

Section IK. Of Elocution; . . . . 
Article I. Of Emphasis ; . . . . 

Article II. Of Pauses; 

Article III. Of Inflections; . . . 

Article IV. Of Tones ; 

Chapter III. Of Figures; 

Section I. Figures of Orthography ; . 
Section II. Figures of Etymology ; . 
Section III. Figures of Syntax ; . . 
Section IV. Figures of Rhetoric ; . . 
Section V. Exam, for Parsing, Praxis 

XIV; f . . . 

Chapter IV. Of Versification ; . . . . 

Section!. Of Verse; 

Definitions and Principles; . . . . 

Observations on Verse ; 

Section II Of Accent and Quantity , . 
Section III. Of Poetic Feet; . . . 
Critical Observations on Theories ; . . 
Section IV. Of the Kinds of Verse . . 
Order I. Iambic Verse ; its 8 Measures ; 
Order" II. Trochaic Verse ; its Nature ; . 
Observations on Trochaic Metre ; . . 
Trochaics shown in their 8 Measures ; . 
Order III. Anapestic Verse ; its 4 Meas- 
ures ; 

Observations on the Short Anapestics ; 
Order IV. Dactylic Verse ; its 8 Meas- 
ures ; 

Observations on Dactylics ; 

Order V. Composite Verse; 

Observations on Composites ; . . . . 
Section V. Improprieties for Correc- 
tion ; 

Chapter V. Questions on Prosody ; . . 
Chapter VI. Exercises for Writing; . . 








Chapter I Of Letters; Capitals ; . . 875. 

Corrections un ier each of the 16 Rules ; 875. 

Promiscuous corrections of Capitals ; . 879. 

Chapter II. Of Syllables; 881. 

Corrections of False Syllabication ; . . 881. 

Chapter III. Of the Fig'ure of Words ; . 881. 

Corrections under each of the 6 Rules ; 881. 

Promiscuous corrections of Figure ; . 883. 

Chapter IV. Of Spelling ; 881. 

Corrections under each of the 15 R-iles ; 884. 

Promiscuous corrections of Spelling ; . 889. 


Chapter I. Of the Parts of Speech ; . . 890. 

Remark concerning False Etymology ; 890. 

Chapter II. Of Articles; 5 Lessons; .' . 899. 

Chapter III. Of Nouns; 3 Lessons; . . 892. 

Chapter IV. Of Adjectives; 3 Lessons; 894. 

Chapter V. Of Pronouns; 3 Lesson*; . 895. 

Chapter VI. Of Verbs ; 3 Lessons ; . . 
Chapter VII. Of Participles; 3 Lensons; 
Chapter VIII. Of A Iverbs; 1 Lesson; . 
Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions ; 1 Lesson ; 
Chapter X. Of Prepositions; 1 Lesson; 
Chapter XI. Of Interjections ; 1 Lesson ; 

Chapter I. Of Sentences ; Remark ; . . 
Chapter II. Of Article. Corrections 

under the I" Notes to Rule I ; . 
Chapter III. Of Cases, or Nouns ; 

Cor. under Rule II ; of Nominatives ; 

Cor. under Rule III ; of Apposition ; 

Cor. under Rule IV; of Posse*- 

Cor. under Rule V ; of Objectives ; . 


902. Cor. under Rule VI; of Same Cases; . 
Cor. under Rule VII; of Objectives ; . 
Cor. under Rule VIII; of Norn. Abso- 






Chapter IV. Of Adjectives. Corrections 

under the 16 Notes to Rules IX ; . . 913. 

Chapter V. Ot Pronouns. Corrections 

under Rule X and its Notes ; . . . 917. 



Corrections under Rule XI; of Pro- 
nouns ; 922. 

Cor. under Rule XII ; of Pronouns ; . 922. 
Cor. under Rule XIII; of Pronouns; . 923. 
Chapter VI. Of Verbs. Corrections un- 
der Rule XIV and its 10 Notes ; . . 923. 
Cor. under Rule XV and its Note ; . . 928. 
Cor. under Rule XVI and its 7 Notes ; 929. 
Cor. under Rule XVII and its 15 Notes ; 931. 
Cor. under Rule XVIII ; of Infinitives ; 936. 
Cor. under Rule XIX ; of Infinitives ; . 936. 
Chapter VII. Of Participles. Correc- 
tions under the 13 Notes to Rule XX ; 937. 
Chapter VIII. Of Adverbs. Corrections 

under the 10 Notes to Rule XXI ; . 942. 

Chapter IX. Of Conjunctions. Correc- 
tions under the 8 Notes to Rule XXII ; 944. 

Chapter X. Of Prepositions. Corrections 
under the 5 Notes to Rule XXIII ; . 947. 

Chapter XI. Promiscuous Exercises. 
Corrections of the 3 Lessons ; . . 

Chapter XII. General Review. Correc- 
tions under all the preceding Rules 
and Notes ; 18 Lessons; 

Chapter XIII. General Rule. Correc- 
tions under the General Rule ; 16 
Lessons ; 963. 

Corrections under the Critical Notes ; . 972. 

Promiscuous Corrections of False Syntax ; 

5 Lessons, under Various Rules ; . 981. 




Chapter I. Punctuation; 985. 

Section I. The Comma; Corrections 

under its 17 Rules ; 985. 

Section II. The Semicolon ; Correc- 
tions under its 3 Rules ; 990. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 991. 

Section III. The Colon ; Corrections 
under its 3 Rules ; 991. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 992. 

Section IV. The Period; Corrections 
under its 3 Rules ; 992. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 993. 

Section V. The Dash ; Corrections un- 
der its 3 Rules ; 994. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . 994. 

Section VI. The Eroteme ; Correc- 
tions under its 3 Rules ; 994. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 995. 

Section VII. The Ecphoneme; Cor- 
rections under its 3 Rules ; , . 995. 

Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 995. 
Section VIII. The Curves ; Correc- 
tions under their 2 Rules ; . . . . 996. 
Mixed Examples Corrected ; . . . . 996. 
Section IX. All Points ; Corrections ; 996. 
Good English Rightly Pointed ; . . . 997. 
Chapter II. Utterance ; no Correc- 
tions ; 999. 

Chapter III. Figures ; no Corrections ; 999. 
Chapter IV. Versification. False 
Prosody, or Errors of Metre, Cor- 
rected: 999. 

APPENDIX I. Of the Sounds of the 

Letters ; 1001. 

APPENDIX II. Of the Derivation of 

Words ; . . . . 1010. 

APPENDIX III. Of the Qualities of 

Style; 1021. 

APPENDIX IV. Of Poetic Diction; 1025. 








ADAM, ALEXANDER, LL.D. ; " Latin and Eng- 
lish Grammar :" Edinburgh, 1772; Boston, 

ADAMS, JOHN Q., LL.D. ; " Lectures on Rhet- 
oric and Oratory ; " 2 vols., 8vo : Cambridge, 
N. E., 1810. 

ADAMS, Rev. CHA"RLES, A. M. ; English Gram- 
mar; 12mo, pp. 172: 1st Edition, Boston, 

ADAMS, DANIEL, M. B. ; English Grammar; 
12mo, pp. 103: 3d Edition, Montpelier, Vt., 

ADAMS, E.; English" Grammar ; 18mo,pp. 143: 
Leicester, Mass., 1st Ed , 1806; 5th Ed. 1821. 

AICKIN, JOSEPH ; English Grammar, 8vo : 
London, 1693. 

AINSWOKTH, ROBERT; Latin and English Dic- 
tionary, 4to: 1st Ed., 1736; revised Ed., 
Lend., 1823. 

AINMVOKTH, LUTHER; English Grammar; 
12mo, pp. 144 : 1st Ed., Providence, R. I., 

AU>I:N, ABNER, A. M. ; "Grammar Made 
;" 12mo,pp. 180: 1st Ed., Boston, 1811. 

AI.DI.N, Rev. TIMOTHY, Jun. ; English Gram- 
mar; 18mo, pp. 36: 1st Ed., Boston, 1811. 

AT.KX VNIIKK, CALEB, A. M. ; (1.) " Grammati- 
i-;il Elements," published before 1794. (2.) "A 
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(3.) " A Grammatical System of the 
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at Hen Ion, Mass.. 17'.i.-, : loth Kd.,Keene,N. 
II., 1S11. Also, (4.) "An Introduction to Lat- 
in," 1795; and, (5.) "An Introduction to the 
Speaking and Writing of English." 

STDBK, S\MI ). i.; English Grammar; 
18mo, pp. 216: 4th Edition, London, 1832. 

vii, Jun., A. M. ; "Abridgment 
of Murray's E. Gram.," &c. ; 18mo, pp. 
I'Jii ; D.-ton, 1821 and 1842. 

K--V. \VII.I.I\M, M. A.; "Grammar of 
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don. Also, " The Elements of English Gram- 
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ALLEN and CORNWELL; English Grammar; 

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ALLEN, D. CAVERNO ; " Grammatic Guide, or 

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ANDREW, JAMES, LL.D.; English Grammar; 

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ANDREWS & STODDARD ; " A Grammar of the 

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1836; llth Ed., 1845. 
ANGELL, OLIVER, A. M. ; English Grammar ; 

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ANGUS, WILLIAM, M. A. ; English Grammar ; 

12mo, pp. 255 : 2d Edition, Glasgow, Scot- 
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AVON.) "The British Grammar;" 8vo, pp. 

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ANON. ; " A Comprehensive Grammar," &c. ; 

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ANON.; Grammar and Rhetoric; 12mo, pp. 

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ANON.; English Grammar, 12mo : London, 

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ANON.; English Grammar; ISrno, pp. 161: 

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ANON.; "The Essentials of English Gram- 
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ANON.; English Grammar; 18mo, pp. 131: 
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ANON. ; '(A. H. Maltby & Co. pub. ;) Murray's 
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ARNOLD, T. K., M. A. ; English Grammar; 
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ASH, JOHN, LL. D. ; " Grammatical Institutes;" 
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BADGLEY, JONATHAN; English Grammar; 
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BALCH, WILILAM S. ; (1.) "Lectures on Lan- 
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BARBER, Dr. JONATHAN ; "A Grammar of Elo- 
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BAILEY, N., Schoolmaster; "English and 
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BEECHER, CATHARINE E. ; English Grammar, 
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BELL, JOHN; English Grammar, 12mo, pp. 
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Treatise on the Etymology and Syntax of the 
English Language;" 8vo, pp. 425: London, 
2d Ed., 1809 ; 4th Ed., 1836. 

CUTLER, ANDREW, A. M. ; " English Gram- 
mar and Parser;" 12mo, pp. 168: 1st Ed., 
Plainfield, Ct., 1841. 

DALE, W. A. T.; a small "English Gram- 
mar;" 18mo, pp. 72 : 1st Ed., Albany, N. Y., 

D ALTON, JOHN ; " Elements of English Gram- 
mar;" 12mo, pp. 122: London, 1st Ed. ,1801. 

DAVENPORT, BISHOP ; " English Grammar 
Simplified;" 18mo, pp. 139: 1st Ed., Wil- 
mington, Del., 1830. 

DAVIDSON, DAVID ; a Syntactical Treatise, or 
Grammar ; 12mo : London, 1823. 

DAVIS, Rev. JOHN, A. M. ; English Grammar ; 
18mo, pp. 188 : 1st Ed., Belfast, Ireland, 1832. 

DAVIS, PARDON ; (1.) AnEpitome-of E. Gram.; 
12mo, pp. 56: 1st Ed., Philad., 1818. (2.) 
"Modern Practical E. Gram.;" 12mo, pp. 
175: 1st Ed., Philad., 1845. 

DAY, PARSONS E. ; " District School Gram- 
mar;" 18mo, pp. 120: 2d Ed., Ithaca, N. Y., 

DAY, WILLIAM ; " Punctuation Reduced to a 
System;" 18mo, pp. 147: 3d Ed., London, 

DEARBORN, BENJAMIN ; " The Columbian 
Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 140: 1st Ed., Boston, 

DEL MAR, E. ; Treatise on English Grammar j 
12mo, pp. 115 : 1st Ed., London, 1842. 

DILWORTH, THOMAS ; " A New Guide to the 
English Tongue; " 12mo, pp. 148: London : 
lt Ed., 1740; 26th Ed., 1764; 40th Ed., 
(used by G. B.,) undated. 

DOHERTY, HUGH ; a Treatise on English Gram- 
mar ; 8vo, pp. 240: 1st Ed., London, 1841. 

D'ORSEY, ALEXANDER J. D. ; (1.) A Duo- 
decimo Grammar, in Two Parts ; Part I, pp. 
153; Part II, pp. 142: 1st Ed., Edinburgh, 
1842. (2,) An Introduction to E. Gram. ; 
18mo, pp. 104 : Edin., 1845. 

DE SACY, A. J. SYLVESTRE, Baron ; "Princi- 
ples of General Grammar; " translated from 
the French, by D. Fosdick, Jun. ; 12mo, pp. 
156 : 1st American, from the 5th French Edi- 
tion ; Andover and New York, 1834. 

"DESPAUTER, JOHN, a Flemish grammarian, 
whose books were, at one time, in great re- 
pute ; he died in 1520." Univ. Biog. Diet. 
Despauter's Latin Grammar, in Three Parts, 
Etymology, Syntax, and Versification, - 
comprises 858 octavo pages. Dr. Adam says, 
in the " Preface to the Fourth Edition" of 
his Grammar, " The first complete edition of 
Despauter's Grammar was printed at Cologne, 
anno 1522 ; his Syntax had been published 
anno 1509." G. Brown's copy is a "com- 
plete edition," printed partly in 1517, and 
partly in 1518. 

DEVIS/ELLEN ; E. Gram.; 18mo, pp. 130: 
London and Dublin; 1st Ed., 1777; 17th 
Ed., 1825. igg^Devis's Grammar, spoken of 
in D. Blair's Preface, as being too " compre- 
hensive and minute," is doubtless an olher 
and much larger work. 

DHUMMOND, JOHN ; English Grammar; 8vo: 
London, 1767. 

DYCHB, THOMAS; English Grammar; 8vo, pp. 
10: London, 1st Ed., 1710 ; 12th Ed., 1765. 

EARL, MARY ; English Grammar; ISmo, pp. 36 : 
1st Ed., Boston, 1816. 

EDWARDS, Mrs. M. C. ; English Grammar; 
8vo : Brentford, England, 1796. 

EGELSHEM, WELLS ; English Grammar ; 12mo : 
London, 1781. 

ELMORE, D. W., A. M. ; " English Grammar ;" 
18mo, pp. 18: 1st Ed., Troy, N. Y., 1830. A 
mere trifle. 

ELPHINSTON, JAMES; on the English Lan- 
guage; 12mo, pp. 298 : 1st Ed., Lond., 1766. 

EMERSON, BENJAMIN D. ; " The National 
Spelling-Book;" 12mo, pp. 168: Boston, 

EMKHY, J., A. B. ; English Grammar; 18mo, 
pp. 39: 1st Ed., Wellsborough, Pa,, 1829. 

EMMONS, S. B. ; " The Grammatical Instruc- 
ter ; " 12mo, pp. 160 : 1st Ed., Boston, 1832. 

ENSELL, G. ; "A Grammar of the English 
Language;" in English and Dutch; 8vo, 
pp. 612: Rotterdam, 1797. 

EVEREST, Rev. CORNELIUS B. ; "An English 
Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 270: 1st Ed., Nor- 
wich, Ct., 1835. Suppressed for plagiarism 
from G. Brown. 

EVERETT, ERASTUS, A.M.; "A System of 
English Versification ;" 12mo, pp. 198: 1st 
Ed., New York, 1848. 

FARNUM, CALKJJ, Jun., A. M. ; "Practical 
Grammar ; " 12mo, pp. 124 : 1st Edition, 
(suppressed for petty larcenies from G. 
Brown,) Providence, R. I., 1842; 2d Edition, 



{ altered to evade the charge of plagiarism,) 
Boston, 1843. 

FAKKO, DANIEL; "The Iloyal British Oram- 
mar and Vocabulary;" Izmo, pp. 344: 1st 
Ed., London, 1754., W. ; "A Comprehensive Grammar;" 
12mo, pp. 122: 1st Edition, Boston, 1837. 
This author can see others' faults better than 
his own. 

FKI.TOX, OLIVER C. ; "A Concise Manual of 
Knglish Grammar; " 12mo, pp. 145 : Salem, 
Mass., 1843. 

FENNIN<;, DANIEL ; English Grammar ; 12mo, 
pp. 224 : 1st Ed., London, 1771. 

FINWHK, JOHN; a 12mo Gram.: London, 

FISH EH, A. ; "A Practical New Grammar ; " 
12mo, pp. 176: London-, 1st Ed., 1753; 28th 
Kd., 17')o ; " aNw Ed., Enlarged, Improved, 
and Corrected," (used by G. B.,) 1800. 

I-'ISK, ALLEN; (1.) Epitome of E. Gram.; 
18mo, pp. 124: Hallowell, Me., 1821; 2d 
Ed., 1828. (2.) "Adam's Latin Grammar 
Simplified ; " 8vo, pp. 190: New York, 1822; 
2d Ed., 1824. (3.) "Murray's English 
Grammar Simplified; " 8vo, pp. 178: IstEd., 
Troy, N. Y., 1822. 

FLEMisa, CALEB ; a 12mo Gram. : Lond., 1765. 
iiEK, LKVI ; English Grammar; 12mo, 
pp. 83: 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1834. 

Fi,r/r< -IIKU, Rev. W. ; English Gram. ; 18mo,pp. 
175 : London ; 1st Ed., 1828 ; 2d Ed., 1833. 

FLINT, ABEL, A. M., and D. D.; "Murray's 
English Grammar Abridged;" 12mo, pp. 
1M1: Hartford, Ct. ; 1st Ed., 1807; 6th Ed., 
pp. 214, 1826. 

FLINT, JOHN; "First Lessons in English 
Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 107: IstEd., New 
York, 1834. 

FLOWER, M. and W. B. ; English Grammar; 
18mo, pp. 170 : 1st Ed., London, 1844. 

FOLKI-K, JOSEIMI ; "An Introduction to E. 
Grain. ; " 12mo, pp. 34: Savannah, Ga., 1821. 

IM.HMKY, M., M. D., S. E., &e., &c. ; "Ele- 
mentary Principles of the Belles-Lettres ; " 
" Translated from the French, by the late 
Mr. Sloper Fonnan ; " 12mo, pp. 224: Glas- 
gow. 177. 

English Grammar," [Parti;] 18mo, pp. 180 : 
Uost.Mi, 1827. (2.) "The True English Gram- 
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<3.) "The Common School Grammar, Part 
I;" 12iuo, pp 4(: Boston, IS 12. f4.) "The 
Ciiiunion School Grammar, Part II; " 12mo, 
pp. 108: Boston, IS 12. 

FOWLEK, WILLIAM C. ; "English Grammar; " 
8vo, pp. 117.") : 1st Edition, New York, 18-10. 

Fi; v/.i.r.. K v. 15i;Ai>roui>; "An Improved 
Grammar:" 12mo, pp. 192: Philad., ISH: 
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i. D'Aiicv A. ; Engl'sh Grammar; 12mc, 
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FUOST, .Joii\. A. M.; (1.) " Kb-mcnts of Kng- 
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G.\i;Yi.i.Y. G. ; Knglish Grammar; ISmo, pp. 
1st Kditinn, London, ls:;n. 

G\v, ANTHKI.MK ; "A French Prosodical Cram- 
mar ; " for Knglish or American Students ; 
r.'mo, pp. 215: New York, IT'.i.l. 

GIBBS, Prof. J. W., of Yale C. ; on Dialects, 
Sounds, and Derivations. See about 120 
pages, credited to this gentleman, in Prof. 
Fowler's large Grammar, of 1850. 

GILBERT, ELI; a "Catechetical Grammar;" 
18mo, pp. 124: 1st Ed., 1834; 2d Ed., New 
York, 183o. 

GILCHUIST, JAMES; English Grammar; 8vo, 
pp. 269: 1st Edition, London, 1815. 

GILES, JAMES; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 
152: London, 1804; 2d Ed., 1810. 

GILES, Rev. T. A., A. M. ; English Grammar; 
12mo, London, 2d Ed., 1838. 

GILL, ALEXANDER ; English Grammar, treated 
in Latin; 4to : London, 1621. 

GII.I.KADE, G. ; English Grammar; 12mo, pp. 
206 : London ; 1st Edition, 1816, 

GIRAULT Du VIVIER, CH. P. ; (I.) " La Grarn- 
maire des Grammaires ; " two thick volumes, 
8vo : Paris ; 2d Ed., 1814. (2.) " Traite des 
Participes ; " 8vo, pp. 84 : 2d Ed., Paris, 1816. 

GOLDSBURY, JOHN, A. M. ; (1.) " The Common 
School Grammar ;" 12mo, pp. 94: 1st Ed., 
Boston, 1842, (2.) " Sequel to the Common 
School Grammar ;" 12mo, pp. 110: 1st Ed., 
Boston, 1842. 

GOODENOW, SMITH B. ; "A Systematic Text- 
Book of English Grammar ; " 12mo, pp. 144 : 
1st Edition, Portland, 1839; 2d Edition, 
Boston, 1843. 

GOUQH, JOHN and JAMES ; English Grammar ; 
18mo, pp. 212 : 2d Ed., Dublin, 1760. 

GOULD, BENJAMIN A. ; "Adam's Lat. Gram., 
with Improvements ; " 12mo, pp. 300 : Bos- 
ton, 1829. 

GRAHAM, G. F. ; English Grammar ; 12mo, pp. 
134: IstEd., London, 1843. 

GRANT, JOHN, A. M. ; (1.) " Institutes of Latin 
Grammar : " 8vo, pp. 453 : London, 1808. 
(2.) A Comprehensive English Grammar; 
12mo, pp. 410: 1st Ed.^ London, 1813. 

GRANVILLE, GEO.; E. Gram., 12mo: Lond., 

GK VY,.IAMI..S,D. D. ; English Grammar ; 18mo, 
pp. 144: 1st Ed., Baltimore, 1818. 

GIM.I.X. MATTHIAS; English Grammar; 12mo, 
pp. 148: 1st Ed., London, 1837. 

Gi.r.r.N, RICHVKIJ W. ; "Inductive Exercises 
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Ed., New York, 1829 ; 5th Ed., Phila., 1834. 

GKKI.XE. ROSCOE G. ; (1.) E. Gram. ; 12mo, pp. 
132: Hallowell, Me ; IstEd., 1828 ; Ster. Ed., 
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GKKV.M:. S\\u F.I. S. ; (1.) "Analysis of Sen- 
tences ; " 12mo, pp. 258 : 1st Ed., Philadel- 
phia, 1848. (2.) "First Lessons in Gram- 
mar;" 18mo,pp. 171: 1st Kd., Philad., 1848. 

GHKKNLEAF, JKHKMIAH; "Grammar Simpli- 
fied ; " 4to, pi>. 48 : New York ; 3d Ed., 1821 ; 
20th Kd., 1837. 

(ii: i IN WOOD, JAMES; English Grammar; 
12mo, pp. 315: London, 1711; 2cl Kd., 1722. 

(iui NVII.I.I:, A. S. ; "Introduction to English 
Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 63: 1st Ed., Bos- 
ton, 1822. 

i, .Inn \, I,L. D. ; " Questions in English 
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York, 1S21. 

GrKM.v, DAVID, A.M.; Knglish Grammar; 

ISmo. pp. 72: Boston, 1801; 2d Ed., 1808. 
C,\\. JOSEPH, Jan.; "Knglish School Gram- 
mar ;" ISmo, pp. 143 : 4th Kd., London, 1816. 
HALT,, Kev. S. It.; " The Grammatical Assis- 



tant ;" 12mo, pp. 131 : 1st Ed., Springfield, 
Mass , 1832. 

HALL, WILLIAM; " Encyclopaedia of English 
Grammar;" (by report ;) Ohio, 1850. 

HALLOCK, EDWARD J., A. M. ; "A Grammar 
of the English Language;" 12mo, pp. 251; 
1st Ed., New York, 1842. A very inaccurate 
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HAMLIN, LORENZO F. ; " English Grammar in 
Lectures;" 12mo, pp. 108: New York, 1831 ; 
Ster. Ed., 1832. 

HAMMOND, SAMUEL; E. Gram.; 8vo : Lond., 

HARRIS, JAMES, Esq.; " Hermes, or a Philo- 
sophical Inquiry concerning Universal Gram- 
mar;" 8vo, pp. 468: London, 1751: 6th Ed., 

HARRISON, Mr. ; " Rudiments of English 
Grammar;" 18mo, pp. 108: 9th American 
Ed , Philad., 1812. 

HARRISON, Rev. MATTHEW, A. M. ; " The 
Rise, Progress, and Present Structure of the 
English Language;" 12mo, pp. 393: Preface 
dated, Basingstoke, Eng., 1848; 1st Ameri- 
can Ed., Philadelphia, 1850. 

HART, JOHNS., A.M.; " English Grammar ;" 
12mo, pp. 192; 1st Ed., Philadelphia, 1845. 

HARVEY, J. ; English Grammar : Lond., 1841. 

HAZEN, EDWARD, A. M. ; "A Practical Gram- 
mar of the E. Language;" 12mo, pp. 240: 
New York, 1842. 

HAZLITT, WILLIAM ; English Grammar ; 18mo, 
pp. 205 : London, 1810. 

HENDRICK, J. L., A. M. ; "A Grammatical 
Manual ;" 18mo, pp. 105 : 1st Ed., Syracuse, 
N. Y., 1844. 

HEWES, JOHN, A. M. ; E. Gram. ; 4to : Lon- 
don, 1624. 

HEWETT, D. ; English Grammar ; folio, pp. 
16 : 1st Edition, New York, 1838. 

HIGGINSON, Rev. Tt E. ; E. Gram. ; 12mo : 
Dublin, 1803. 

HILEY, RICHARD; "A Treatise on English 
Grammar," &c. ; 12mo, pp. 269: 3d Ed., 
London, 1840. Hiley's Grammar Abridged ; 
ISmo, pp. 196: London, 1843: 4th Ed., 1841. 

HILL, J. H.; "On the Subjunctive Mood;" 
8vo, pp. 63: 1st Ed., London, 1834. 

HODGSON, Rev. ISAAC; English Grammar; 
18mo, pp. 184: 1st Ed., London, 1770. 

HOME, HENRY, Lord Kames ; " Elements of 
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York, 1819. Also, "The Art of Thinking ;" 
12mo, pp. 284 : (from the last London Ed. :) 
New York, 1818. 

HORXSEY, JOHN ; English Grammar ; 12mo, 
pp. 144: York, England, 1793; 6th Ed., 1816. 

HORT, W. JILLARD; English Grammar ; 18mo, 
pp. 219: 1st Ed., London, 1822. 

HOUGHTON, JOHN ; E. Gram., 8vo : London, 

HOUSTON, SAMUEL, A. B. ; English Gram- 
mar; 12mo, pp. 48: 1st Ed., Harrisburgh, 
Pa., 1818. 

HOWE, S. L. ; English Grammar; 18mo : 1st 
Eel., Lancaster, Ohio, 1838. 

UNWELL, JAMES; E. Gram., 12mo: London, 

HULL, JOSEPH HERVEY ; " E. Gram., by Lec- 
tures ;" I2mo, pp. 72 : 4th Ed., Boston, 1828. 

HUMPHREY, ASA; (1.) "The English Pros- 
ody ;" 12mo, pp. 175 : 1st Ed!, Boston, 
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pp. 71 : 1st Ed., Boston, 1847. 

HURD, S. T.; E. Gram. ; 2d Ed., Boston, 1827. 

HUTIIERSAL, JOHN; E. Gram.; 18mo : Ens., 

INGERSOLL, CHARLES M. : " Conversations on 
English Grammar;" 12mo, pp. 296: New 
York, 1821. 

Rhetoric and Polite Literature;" 12mo, pp. 
345 : " The first American, from the last Lon- 
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JAUDON, DANIEL; "The Union Grammar;" 
18mo, pp. 216: Philadelphia; 1st Ed., 1812; 
4th, 1828. 

JENKINS, AZARIAH; English Grammar ; 12mo, 
pp. 256 : 1st Ed., Rochester, N. Y., 1835. 

JOEL, THOMAS ; English Grammar ; 12mo, pp. 
78: 1st Ed., London, 1775. 

JOHNSON, RICHARD; "Grammatical Com- 
mentaries ;" (chiefly on Lily ;) 8vo, pp. 436: 
London, 1706. 

JOHNSON, SAMUEL, LL.D.; "A Dictionary of the 
English language ;" in two thick volumes, 4to: 
1st American, from the llth London Edition ; 
Philadelphia, 1818. To this work, are pre- 
fixed Johnson's " History of the English 
Language," pp. 29 ; and his " Grammar of 
the English Tongue," pp. 14. 

JONES, JOSHUA; E. Gram. ; 18mo: Phila., 1841. 

JONSON, BEN ; see, in his Works, " The 
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vation of the English Language, now spoken 
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JUDSON, ADONIRAM, Jun., A. B. ; English 
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KENNION, CHARLOTTE; English Grammar; 
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KILSON, ROGER ; E. Gram. ; 12mo : England, 

KING, WALTER W. ; English Grammar; J8mo, 
pp. 76: 1st Ed., London, 1841. 

KIRKHAM, SAMUEL; "English Grammar in 
Familiar Lectures; " 12mo, pp. 144228: 2d 
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KNOWLES, JOHN; " The Principles of English 
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KNOWLTON, JOSEPH; English Grammar; 18mo, 
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LATHAM, R. G., A. M. ; (1.) "The English 
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LEAVITT, DUDLEY ; English Grammar ; 24to, 
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LENNIE WILLIAM ; " The Principles of Eng- 
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LEWIS, ALONZO ; " Lessons in English Gram- 
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LEWIS, JOHN ; English Grammar ; ISmo, pp. 
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mar ; ISmo, pp. 204: 1st Ed., London, 1821. 

LILY, WILLIAM; " Brevissima Institutio, seu 
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LINDSAY, Rev. JOHN, A. M. ; English Gram- 
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LOCKE, JOHN, M. I). ; small English Grammar; 
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LOUGHT: N, WILLIAM ; English Grammar ; 
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LOYECHILD, Mrs.; English Grammar; 18mo, 
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MACK, KVKRED J. ; "The Self-Instructor, and 
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MAITTAIRK. MICHAEL; English Grammar; 
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MARCET, Mrs.; English Grammar ; 18mo, pp. 
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MARTIX, BEXJ. ; English Grammar; 12mo : 
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MATHESON, JOHX; English Grammar; 18mo, 
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MAUNDER, 8AMTTBL ; Grammar prefixed to 
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MAYOR, WILLIAM; English Grammar; 18mo, 
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MVREADY, F. ; 12mo Grammar r Philad., 1820. 

M'( YLLOCH, J. M., D. D. ; "A Manual of 
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Mt RRAY, ALEXANDER, Schoolmaster; 


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.le Grammatioa quam brcvissime potui : mm ut omnia dicerem sectatus, (quod inflnitum erat,) Bed 
. v.\. Lib. i, Cap. x. 

1. LANGUAGE, in the proper sense of the term, is peculiar to man ; so that, 
without a miraculous assumption of human powers, none but human beings can 

'.onls the vehicle of thought. An imitation of some of the articulate sounds 
employed in speech, may be exhibited by parrots, and sometimes by domesticated 
and we know that almost all brute animals have their peculiar natural voices, 
by which they indicate their feelings, whether pleasing or painful. But language 
an attribute' of reason, and differs essentially not only from all brute voices, but 
even from all the chattering, jabbering, and babbling of our own species, in which 
- not an intelligible meaning, with division of thought, and distinction of 

2. Speech results from the joint exercise of the best and noblest faculties of 
utnan nature, from our rational understanding and our social affection ; and is, in 

e proper use of it, the peculiar ornament and distinction of man, whether we 
compare him with other order* in tin- creation, or view him as an individual 
'rii-iit among his fellows. Hence that science which makes known the nature 
h. and immediately concerns the correct and elegant use of 
language, while it ML 1 the conceptions of the stupid or unlearned, and 

< nothing that can seem desirable to the sensual and grovelling,!, 
trinsi-- vliirh hiirhly commends it to all person- >, and 

rite with the nnt gifted minds. That Bcieooe is Grammar. 

And though the 1 . \vlin :iH''<-t tn df-pi-e the trammel- of grammar 

lies, to whom it mu- led thaf many things which have been unskillfully 

Dr. Adam ivmarks, that, 
iv. 1 .-HI ol -it importance bythe 

i in all ages." /'/v/l/fv tn I.nt'irt <ut<l Kiit/fis/i (,'rnni:. p iii. 
; !. Ghmmar bears to 1: relations, and acquires from 

each a nature leading to aditil-ront definition. First, It is to language, as knowl- 


edge is to the thing known ; and as doctrine, to the truths it inculcates. In these 
relations, grammar is a science. It is the first of what have been called the seven 
sciences, or liberal branches of knowledge ; namely, grammar, logic, rhetoric, 
arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Secondly, It is as skill, to the thing 
to be done ; and as power, to the instruments it employs. In these relations, 
grammar is an art ; and as such, has long been defined, " ars recte scribendi, 
rectegue loguendi," the art of writing and speaking correctly. Thirdly, It is as 
navigation, to the ocean, which nautic skill alone enables men to traverse. In this 
relation, theory and practice combine, and grammar becomes, like navigation, a 
practical science. Fourthly, It is as a chart, to a coast which we would visit. In 
this relation, our grammar is a text-book, which we take as a guide, or use as a 
help to our own observation. Fifthly, It is as a single voyage, to the open sea, 
the highway of nations. Such is our meaning, when we speak of the grammar of 
a particular text or passage. 

4. Again : Grammar is to language a sort of self-examination. It turns the 
faculty of speech or writing upon itself for its own elucidation ; and makes the 
tongue or the pen explain the uses and abuses to which both are liable, as well as 
the nature and excellency of that power, of which these are the two grand instru- 
ments. From this account, some may begin to think that in treating of grammar 
we are dealing with something too various and changeable for the understanding to 
grasp ; a dodging Proteus of the imagination, who is ever ready to assume some 
new shape, and elude the vigilance of the inquirer. But let the reader or student 
do his part ; and, if he please, follow us with attention. We will endeavour, with 
welded links, to bind this Proteus, in such a manner that he shall neither escape 
from our hold, nor fail to give to the consulter an intelligible and satisfactory 
response. Be not discouraged, generous youth. Hark to that sweet far-reaching 

" Sed, quanto ille magis formas se vertet in omnes, 

Tanto, nate, magis contende tenacia vincla." 

VIRGIL. Geor. IV, 411. 
" But thou, the more he varies forms, beware 

To strain his fetters with a stricter care." DRYDEN'S VIRGIL. 

5. If for a moment we consider the good and the evil that are done in the 
world through the medium of speech, we shall with one voice acknowledge, that 
not only the faculty itself, but also the manner in which it is used, is of incalculable 
importance to the welfare of man. But this reflection does not directly enhance 
our respect for grammar, because it is not to language as the vehicle of moral or 
of immoral sentiment, of good or of evil to mankind, that the attention of the 
grammarian is particularly directed. A consideration of the subject in these 
relations, pertains rather to the moral philosopher. Nor are the arts of logic and 
rhetoric now considered to be properly within the grammarian's province. Modern 
science assigns to these their separate places, and restricts grammar, which at one 
period embraced all learning, to the knowledge of language, as respects its fitness 
to be the vehicle of any particular thought or sentiment which the speaker or writer 
may wish to convey by it. Accordingly grammar is commonly defined, by writers 
upon the subject, in the special sense of an art " the art of speaking or writing a 
language with propriety or correctness." Webster's Diet. 

6. Lily says, " Grammatica est recte scribendi atque loquendi ars ;" that is, 
" Grammar is the art of writing and speaking correctly." Despauter, too, in his 
definition, which is quoted in a preceding paragraph, not improperly placed writing 
first, as being that with which grammar is primarily concerned. For it ought to 
be remembered, that over any fugitive colloquial dialect, which has never been 
fixed by visible signs, grammar has no control ; and that the speaking which the 


art or science of grammar teaches, is exclusively that which has reference to a 
knowledge of letters. It is the certain tendency of writing, to improve speech. 
And in proportion as books are multiplied, and the knowledge of written language 
is diffused. Wai dialects, which are beneath the dignity of gramriiar, will always 
be found to grow tewer. ;md their differences less. There are, in the various parts 
of the world, many language- to which the art of grammar has never yet been 
applied ; and to which, therefore, the definition or true idea of grammar, however 
general, does not properly extend. And even where it has been applied, and is 
now honoured as a popular branch of study, there is yet great room for improve- 
ment : barbarisms and solecisms have not been rebuked away as they deserve 
to be. 

7. Melancthon says, " Grammatica est certa loquendi ac scribendi ratio, Latinis 
Latino." Vossius, " Ars bene loquendi eoque et scribendi, atque id Latinis 
Latine." Dr. Prat, " Cramimitica est recte loquendi atque scribendi ars." 
Ruddiman also, in his Institutes of Latin Grammar, reversed the terms v, 
and speaking, and defined grammar, " ars recte loquendi scribendique ;" and, 
either from mere imitation, or from the general observation that speech precedes 
writing, this arrangement of the words has been followed by most modern gram- 
marians. Dr. Lowth embraces both terms in a more general one, and says, 
" Grammar is the art of r ///////// expressing our thoughts by words." It is, how- 
ever. the province of grammar, to guide us not merely in the expression of our 
own thoughts, but also in our appivhen.-ion of the thoughts, and our interpretation 
words, of others. Hence, 1 Vri/.onhis. in commenting upon Sanctius's im- 
perfect definition, "Grninnniti<"<i r.sV ars recte loqnendi," not improperly asks, 
'V/V/r//'// <-t exlicandi?" "and wh not also of understandin and 

'V/V/r//'// <-t explicandi?" "and why not also of understanding and 
explaining'.'" Hence, too, the art of reading is virtually a part of grammar ; for it 
is but the art of understanding and speaking correctly that which we have before 
us on paper. And Nugent has accordingly given us the following definition : 
mar is the art of reading, speaking, and writing a language by rules." 

- Litnxlnrtin,, t JJi'rf. p. Xli.* 

8. The word recte, rightly, truly, correctly, which occurs in most of the fore- 
going Latin definitions, is censured by the learned Kichard Johnson, in his 
Grammatical Commentaries, on account of the vagueness of its meaning. He says, 
it is not only ambiguous by reason of its different uses in the Latin classics, but 

ite of any signification proper to grammar. But even if this be true as re- 

gards its earlier application, it may well be questioned, whether by frequency of 

'juired a signification which makes it proper at the present time. 

Tin- English word correctly eeeaa to be les.> liable to such an objection; and either 

this brief term, or some other of like import, (as, "with correctness" "with 

propriety.") is still usually employed to tell what grammar is. But can a boy 

learn ] viiat it is, tn aju'ttt: nml ?//// grammatically 1 In one sense, 

I in another, he cannot, lit.' may derive, from any of the.-e terms, some 

'iimar as distinguished from other arts ; but no >imple definition of this, 

or of any other art. can cummunicate to him that learns it. the skill of an artist. 

9. B ///*' rilntion of words to each other in sen- 

uiting in his v'n-w the most essential part of grammar; and as 

1 1> . parts, was as follows : " Grammar is the art of true and well* 

(peaking a language : the writing is but 

. | , . , . | flu- triii- nutation of words, 
raxe, ( * ls | tin- ri.-ht ..r.U-rinu' -f '!. 

A word is a part of speech or note, wberebv a thing Ls known or railed ; and consisteth of one or more 

irnliviMMe part of a syllnMc, whose prosody, or right sounding, is perceived by the power ; the 

nut parts of grammar, but diffused, like blood and spirits, through the 
-Jonsons Gram. Book I. 


being a point very much overlooked, or very badly explained, by grammarians in 
general. His censure is just. And it seems to be as applicable to nearly all the 
grammars now in use, as to those which he criticised a hundred and thirty years ago. 
But perhaps he gives to the relation of words, (which is merely their dependence on 
other words according to the sense,) an earlier introduction and a more prominent 
place, than it ought to have in a general system of grammar. To the right use of 
language, he makes four things to be necessary. In citing these, I vary the lan- 
guage, but not the substance or the order of his positions. First, That we should 
speak and write words according to the significations which belong to them : the 
teaching of which now pertains to lexicography, and not to grammar, except inci- 
dentally. " Secondly, That we should observe the relations that words have 
one to another in sentences, and represent those relations by such variations, and 
particles, as are usual with authors in that language." Thirdly, That we should 
acquire a knowledge of the proper sounds of the letters, and pay a due regard to 
accent in pronunciation. Fourthly, That we should learn to write words with their 
proper letters, spelling them as literary men generally do. 

10. From these positions, (though he sets aside the first, as pertaining to lexi- 
cography, and not now to grammar, as it formerly did,) the learned critic deduces 
first his four parts of the subject, and then his definition of grammar. " Hence," 
says he. " there arise four parts of grammar ; Analogy, which treats of the several 
parts of speech, their definitions, accidents, and formations ; Syntax, which treats of 
the use of those things in construction, according to their relations ; Orthography, 
which treats of spelling ; and Prosody, which treats of accenting in pronunciation. 
So, then, the true definition of grammar is this : Grammar is the art of expressing 
the relations of things in construction, with due accent in speaking, and orthog- 
raphy in writing, according to the custom of those whose language we learn." 
Again he adds : " The word relation has other senses, taken by itself; but yet the 
relation of words one to another in a sentence, has no other signification than 
what I intend by it, namely, of cause, effect, means, end, manner, instrument, 
object, adjunct, and the like ; which are names given by logicians to those relations 
under which the mind comprehends things, and therefore the most proper words 
to explain them to others. And if such things are too hard for children, then 
grammar is too hard ; for there neither is, nor can be, any grammar without them. 
And a little experience will satisfy any man, that the young will as easily appre- 
hend them, as gender, number, declension, and other grammar-terms." See R. 
Johnson's Grammatical Commentaries, p. 4. 

11. It is true, that the relation of words by which I mean that connexion 
between them, which the train of thought forms and suggests or that dependence 
which one word has on an other according to the sense lies at the foundation of 
all syntax. No rule or principle of construction can ever have any applicability be- 
yond the limits, or contrary to the order, of this relation. To see what it is in 
any given case, is but to understand the meaning of the phrase or sentence. And 
it is plain, that no word ever necessarily agrees with an other, with which it is not 
thus connected in the mind of him who uses it. No word ever governs an other, 
to which the sense does not direct it. No word is ever required to stand imme- 
diately before or after an other, to which it has not some relation according to the 
meaning of the passage. Here then are the relation, agreement, government, and 
arrangement, of words in sentences ; and these make up the whole of syntax but 
not the whole of grammar. To this one part of grammar, therefore, the relation of 
words is central and fundamental ; in the other parts also, there are some things to 
which the consideration of it is incidental ; but there are many more, like spelling, 
pronunciation, derivation, and whatsoever belongs merely to letters, syllables, and 
the forms of words, with which it ha*, in fact, no connexion. The relation of words, 
therefore, should be clearly and fully explained in its proper place, under the head 


of syntax ; but the general idea of grammar will not be brought nearer to truth, 
by making it to be " the art of '-.////> >',/y //,, ,-, A///O//.V of tiling.-," &c. 

1'J. The trim yrnnumtr i> derived from the Greek word ;(/'<," .", a letter. The 
art or science t which this term is applied, had its origin, not in cursory >pe, -ch, 
but it) tt: >f writing; and sjteeeh, which is n'i>t in the order of nature, is 

la>t with ivWeiu-e to "ram mar. The matter or common subject of grammar, is 
lun- ueral; which, being of two kinds, spoken and written, consists of 

certain combinations either of sounds or of visible signs, employed for the expres- 
sion of thought. Letters and sounds, though often needlessly confoanded in the 
definitions njven of vowels, consonants, &c.,are, in their own nature, very different 
thing-. Th'-y address themselves to different senses ; the former, to the sight ; the 
r, to the hearing. Yet, by a peculiar relation arbitrarily established between 
them, and in consequence of an almost endless variety in the combinations of either, 
they coincide in a most admirable manner, to effect the great object for which lan- 
guage was bestowed or invented ; namely, to furnish a sure medium for the 
communication of thought, and the preservation of knowledge. 

Ul languages, however different, have many things in common. There 
are points of a philosophical character, which result alike from the analysis of ciny 
laniM'a-c. and are founded on the very nature of human thought, and that of the 
sounds or other signs which are used to express it. When such principle- alone 
are I 5'ject of inquiry, and are treated, as they sometimes have been, 

wit! i to any of the idioms of particular languages, they constitute what is 

called General, Philosophical, or Universal Grammar. But to teach, with Lindley 
Murray and some others, that " Grammar may be considered as const at imj of two 
rniversal and Particular," and that the latter merely "applies those 
ral principles to a particular language," is to adopt a twofold absurdity at the 
it.* For every cultivated language has its particular grammar, in which what- 
soever is universal, is necessarily included ; but of which, universal or general 
prii: n only a part, and that comparatively small. We find therefore in 

grammar no " two species " of the same genus; nor is the science or art, as com- 
monly defined and understood, susceptible of division into any proper and distinct 
' pt with reference to different languages as when we speak of Greek, 
Latin, French, or Knglish grammar. 

14. There i<. however, as T have suggested, a certain science or philosophy of 
lan^iiau''. which, has been denominated Universal Grammar ; being made up of 
th"<e p.-ints only, in which many or all of the different languages pre-eived in 
books, are found to coincide. All speculative minds are fond of generalization ; 
and, in the va-tness of the views which may thus be taken of grammar, such may 
find an entertainment which they never felt in merely learning to speak and write 

',/.-<} upon a part of thi^ :ib<nr<lit\ -. t prove thnt Dr. I.owth. from whom Murray 
what he undertook in the character of a fcniiiiiu;iri:ni : " Ir. 

s the 

.(/,/;'. .N those 

c priijcipl" of UK 




!>id in sonic 
, h<> ha-J :i much ; ; r.t\ 's 

1 implicit,,, - 
it in . De 

to a; ml or 

no principles of Syntax at all, whatever else it u;i> hare which Particular Grammar 
c&ii assume and apply. 


grammatically. But the pleasure of such contemplations is not the earliest or the 
most important fruit of the study. The first thing is, to know and understand the 
grammatical construction of our own language. Many may profit by this acquisi- 
tion, who extend not their inquiries to the analogies or the idioms of other tongues. 
It is true, that every item of grammatical doctrine is the more worthy to be known 
and regarded, in proportion as it approaches to universality. But the principles 
of all practical grammar, whether universal or particular, common or peculiar, must 
first be learned in their application to some one language, before they can be 
distinguished into such classes ; and it is manifest, both from reason and from 
experience, that the youth of any nation not destitute of a good book for the 
purpose, may best acquire a knowledge of those principles, from the grammatical 
study of their native tongue. 

15. Universal or Philosophical Grammar is a large field for speculation and 
inquiry, and embraces many things which, though true enough in themselves, are 
unfit to be incorporated with any system of practical grammar, however compre- 
hensive its plan. Many authors have erred here. With what is merely theoretical, 
such a system should have little to do. Philosophy, dealing in generalities, 
resolves speech not only as a whole into its constituent parts and separable elements, 
as anatomy shows the use and adaptation of the parts and joints of the human body; 
but also as a composite into its matter and form, as one may contemplate that same 
body in its entireness, yet as consisting of materials, some solid and some fluid, and 
these curiously modelled to a particular figure. Grammar, properly so called, 
requires only the former of these analyses ; and in conducting the same, it descends 
to the thousand minute particulars which are necessary to be known in practice. 
Nor are such things to be despised as trivial and low : ignorance of what is common 
and elementary, is but the more disgraceful for being ignorance of mere rudiments. 
"Wherefore," says Quintilian, " they are little to be respected, who represent 
this art as mean and barren ; in which, unless you faithfully lay the foundation for 
the future 'orator, whatever superstructure you raise will tumble into ruins. It is 
an art, necessary to the young, pleasant to the old, the sweet companion of the 
retired, and one which in reference to every kind of study has in itself more of 
utility than of show. Let no one therefore despise as inconsiderable the elements of 
grammar. Not because it is a great thing, to distinguish consonants from vowels, 
and afterwards divide them into semivowels and mutes ; but because, to those who 
enter the interior parts of this temple of science, there will appear in many things a 
great subtilty, which is fit not only to sharpen the wits of youth, but also to exer- 
cise the loftiest erudition and science." De Instititione Oratoria, Lib. i, Cap. i 

1G. Again, of the arts which spring from the composition of languagi 
Here the art of logic, aiming solely at conviction, addresses the understanding 
with cool deductions of unvarnished truth ; rhetoric, designing to move, in some 
particular direction, both the judgement and the sympathies of men, applies itself 
to the affections in order to persuade ; and poetry, various in its character and 
tendency, solicits the imagination, with a view to delight, and in general also to 
instruct. But grammar, thougli intimately connected with all these, and essential 
to them in practice, is still too distinct from each to be identified with any of them. 
In regard to dignity and interest, these higher studies seem to have greatly the 
advantage over particular grammar ; but who is witling to be an ungrammatical 
poet, orator, or logician ? For him I do not write. But I would persuade my 
readers, that an acquaintance with that grammar which respects the genius of their 
vernacular tongue, is of primary importance to all who would cultivate a literary 
taste, and is a necessary introduction to the study of other languages. And it 
may here be observed, for the encouragement of the student, that as grammar is 
essentially the same thing in all languages, he who has well mastered that of his 
own, has overcome more than half the difficulty of learning an other ; and he 


whose knowledge of words is the most extensive, has the fewest obstacles to encoun- 
ter in proceeding further. 

17. It was the " original design " of grammar, says Dr. Adam, to facilitate 
" the acquisition of languages; " and, of all practical treatises on the subject, this 
is still the main purpose. In those books which are to prepare the learner to 
translate from one tongue into an other, seldom is any tiling else attempted. In 
those also which profess to explain the right use of vernacular speech, must the 
same purpose be ever paramount, and the " original design " be kept in view. 
But the grammarian may teach many things incidentally. One cannot learn a 
language, without learning at the same time a great many opinions, facts, and 
principles, of some kind or other, which are necessarily embodied in it. For all 
language proceeds from, and is addressed to, the understanding ; and he that per- 
ceives not the meaning of what he reads, makes no acquisition even of the lan- 
guage itself. To the science of grammar, the nature of the ideas conveyed by 
casual examples, is not very essential : to the learner, it is highly important. The 
best thoughts in the best diction should furnish the models for youthful study and 
imitation ; because such language is not only the most worthy to be remembered, 
but the most easy to be understood. A distinction is also to be made between use 
and abuse. In nonsense, absurdity, or falsehood, there can never be any gram- 
matical authority ; because, however language may be abused, the usage which 
gives law to speech, is still that usage which is founded upon the common sense 
of mankind. 

1*. (irammar appeals to reason, as well as to authority ; but to what extent it 
should do so, has been matter of dispute. " The knowledge of useful arts," 
3ancttU8, "is not an invention of human ingenuity, but an emanation from 
the Deity, descending from above for the use of man, as Minerva sprung from 
the brain of Jupiter. Wherefore, unless thou give thyself wholly to laborious re- 
search into the nature of things, and diligently examine the causes and reasons 
of the art thou teachest, believe me, thou shalt but see with other men's eyes, and 
hear with other men's ears. But the minds of many are preoccupied with a cer- 
tain perverse opinion, or rather ignorant conceit, that in grammar, or the art 
of speaking, there are no causes, and that reason is scarcely to be appealed to for 
any thing ; than which idle notion, I know of nothing more foolish ; nothing 
can be thought of which is more offensive. Shall man, endowed with reason, do, 
say, or contrive any thing, without design, and without understanding? Hear the 
philosophers; who positively declare that nothing comes to pass without a cause. 
Hear Plato himself; who aflirms that names and words subsist by nature, and 
contends that language is derived from nature, and not from art." 

i'.. " T know," says he, " that the Aristotelians think otherwise ; but no one 
will doubt that names are the signs, and as it were the instruments, of things. 
But the instrument of any art is so adapted to that art, that for any other purpose 
it must seem unfit; thus with an auger we bore, and with a saw we cut wood ; 
but we split stones with wedges, and wedges are driven with heavy mauls. We 
cannot therefore but believe that those who first gave names to things, did it with 
dciL r n : and this, 1 imagine, Aristotle himself understood when he said, ad pla~ 
cifinn iioiniitd sif/mji.-nr.-. For those who contend that names were made by 
chance, are no less audacious than if they would endeavour to persuade us, that 
the whole order of the universe was frame. 1 together fortuitously." 

'J<>. " You will see," continues he, " that in the first lan<ruai:', whatever it was, 
the names of things were taken from Nature herself; but, though I cannot ailirm 
this to have been the ca<c in other tongues, yet I can easily persuade myself that 
in evry ton^iu- a reason can be rendered for the application of every name ; and 
that this reason, though it is in many eases <ibM-uiv. is nevertheless worthy of in- 
vestigation. Many things which were not known to the earlier philosophers, were 


brought to light by Plato ; after the death of Plato, many were discovered by Aris- 
totle ; and Aristotle was ignorant of many which are now everywhere known. For 
truth lies hid, but nothing is more precious than truth. But you will say, ' How 
can there be any certain origin to names, when one and the same thing is called by 
different names, in the several parts of the world V ' I answer, of the same thing 
there may be different causes, of which some people may regard one, and others, 
an other. * * There is therefore no doubt, that of all things, even of 

words, a reason is to be rendered : and if we know not what that reason is, when 
we are asked ; we ought rather to confess that we do not know, than to affirm that 
none can be given. I know that Scaliger thinks otherwise ; but this is the true 
account of the matter." 

21. " These several observations," he remarks further, " I have unwillingly 
brought together against those stubborn critics who, while they explode reason 
from grammar, insist so much on the testimonies of the learned. But have they 
never read Quintilian, who says, '(Lib. i, Cap. 6,) that, ' Language is established 
by reason, antiquity, authority, and custom ? ' He therefore does not exclude 
reason, but makes it the principal thing. Nay, in a manner, Laurentius, and 
other gramraatists, even of their fooleries, are forward to offer reasons, such as 
they are. Moreover, use does not take place without reason ; otherwise, it ought 
to be called abuse, and not use. But from use authority derives all its force ; 
for when it recedes from use, authority becomes nothing: whence Cicero reproves 
Ccelius and Marcus Antonius for speaking according to their own fancy, and not 
according to use. But, ' Nothing can be lasting,' says Curtius, (Lib. iv,) ' which 
is not based upon reason.' It remains, therefore, that of all things the reason be 
first assigned ; and then, if it can be done, we may bring forward testimonies ; 
that the thing, having every advantage, may be made the more clear." Sunclii 
Minerva, Lib. i, Cap. 2. 

22. Julius Cassar Scaliger, from whose opinion Sanctius dissents above, seems 
to limit the science of grammar to bounds considerably too narrow, though he found 
within them room for the exercise of much ingenuity and learning. He says, 
" Grammatics est scientia loquendi ex usu ; neque enim constituit regulas scien- 
tibus usus modum, sed ex eorum statis frequentibusque usurpationibus colligit 
communem rationem loquendi, quam discentibus traderet." De Cay sis L. 
Latince, Lib. iv, Cap 76. " Grammar is the science of speaking according to 
use; for it does not establish rules for those who know the manner of use, but 
from the settled and frequent usages of these, gathers the common fashion of 
speaking, which it should deliver to learners." This limited view seems not only 
to exclude from the science the use of the pen, but to exempt the learned from 
any obligation to respect the rules prescribed for the initiation of the young. But 
I have said, and with abundant authority, that the acquisition of a good style of 
writing is the main purpose of the study ; and, surely, the proficients and 
adepts in the art can desire for themselves no such exemption. Men of genius, 
indeed, sometimes affect to despise the pettiness of all grammatical instructions ; 
but this can be nothing else than affectation, since the usage of the learned is 
confessedly the basis of all such instructions, and several of the loftiest of their 
own rank appear on the list of grammarians. 

23. Quintilian, whose authority is appealed to above, belonged to that age in 
which the exegesis of histories, poems, and other writings, Avas considered an es- 
sential part of grammar. lie therefore, as well as Diomedes, and other ancient 
writers, divided the grammarian's duties into two parts ; the one including what, is 
now called grammar, and the other the explanation of authors, and the stigmatiz- 
ing of the unworthy. Of the opinion referred to by Sanctius, it seems proper to 
make here an ampler citation. It shall be attempted in English, though the para- 
graph is not an easy one to translate. I understand the author to say, " Speak- 


ers, too, have their rules to observe ; and writers, theirs. Language is established 
antiquity, authority, and custom. Of reason the chief ground is 
Detimea etymology. Ancient thing* have a certain majesty, and, 
a- 1 might xiv. religion, to commend them. Authority is wont to ! from 

and historians ; the necessity of metre mostly excuses the poets. When 
the judgement of the chief masters of eloquence passes for reason, even error 
seems right to those who follow great leaders. But, of the art of speaking, custom 
i.- the smest mistre.-s ; fur evidently to be used as money, which has upon 

it a public .-tamp. Yet all these things require a penetrating judgement, especially 
v ; the force of which is, that one may refer what is doubtful, to some- 
thing similar that is clearly established, and thus prove uncertain things by those 
whi<:h are sure." Quint. Inst. Orcit., Lib. i, Cap. 6. 

-4. The science of grammar, whatever we may suppose to be its just limits, 
pear to have been better cultivated in proportion as its scope was nar- 
Xor has its application to our tongue, in particular, ever been made in 
such a manner, as to do </reat honour to the learning or the talents of him that at- 
tempted it. What is new to a nation, may be old to the world. The development 
of the intellectual powers of youth by instruction in the classics, as well as 
tin- improvement of their taste by the exhibition of what is elegant in literature, 
i.- <"'iitinually engaging the attention of new masters, some of whom may seem to 
: hut w- must remember that the concern itself is of no 
i A istotle, who were great masters both of grammar and 

iy, taught these things ably at Athens, in the fourth century before 
Varro, the grammarian, usually styled the most learned of the Romans, 
;/ f<'n<l><>nir>i with the Saviour and his apostles. Quintilian lived in \\\Q first 
century of our era, and before he wrote his most celebrated book, taught a school 
year.- in Home, and received from the state a salary which made him rich. 
This eon.-ummate guide of wayward youth," as the poet Martial called him, 
neither ignorant of what had been done by others, nor disposed to think it a 
liu'ht task to proscribe the right use of his own language, was at first slow to un- 
dertake the work upon which his fame now reposes ; and, after it was begun, 
diligent to execute it worthily, that it might turn both to his own honour, and to 
the real advancement of learning. 

it the comnicncfiiient of his book : " After I had obtained a quiet 

from those labours which for twenty years had devolved upon me as an in- 

r of youth, certain pcr.-ons familiarly demanded of me, that I should com- 

Miething concerning the proper manner of speaking ; but for a long time I 

<1 their solicitations, because [knew there were, already illustrious authors 

_-. 1 v whom many things which might pertain to such a work, had 

l-'-'Mi very diligently written, and left to posterity. But the reason which I 

1 would obtain for me an ea.-ier cxru.-c, did but excite the more earnest en- 

thfl various opinions of earlier writers, some of whom 

even conn-tent with then the choice had become difficult; so 

that my friends seemed to have a right to enjoin upon me, if not the labour of 

Q9W in.-truetions, at least that of judging concerning the old. But 

Miaded not -o much by the hope of supplying what was 

06 of refusing. ie matter opened it. -elf before 

. of my own accord a much greater task than had been im- 

; that while I should ti. -ood friends bv a fnll 

I, I might not enter ;i common path and tread only in the foot.-: 

: - who have treated of the art of :-peaking, have 

led in -ndi a manner as if upon adept- in every other kind of doctrine they 

would lay the last touch in eloquence ; either de.-pi.-ing as little thing.- the 

studies which we first learn, or thinking them not to fall to their share in the divi- 


sion which should be made of the professions ; or, what indeed is next to this, 
hoping no praise or thanks for their ingenuity about things which, although neces- 
sary, lie far from ostentation : the tops of buildings make a show, their foundations 
are unseen." Quintiliani de Inst. Or at., Procemium. 

26. But the reader may ask, " What have all these things to do with English 
Grammar? " I answer, they help to show us whence and what it is. Some ac- 
quaintance with the history of grammar as a science, as well as some knowledge 
of the structure of other languages than our own, is necessary to him who pro- 
fesses to write for the advancement of this branch of learning and for him also 
who would be a competent judge of what is thus professed. Grammar must not 
forget her origin. Criticism must not resign the protection of letters. The na- 
tional literature of a country is in the keeping, not of the people at large, but of 
authors and teachers. But a grammarian presumes to be a judge of authorship, 
and a teacher of teachers ; and is it to the honour of England or America, that 
in both countries so many are countenanced in this assumption of place, who can 
read no language but their mother tongue ? English Grammar is not properly an 
indigenous production, either of this country or of Britain ; because it is but a 
branch of the general science of philology a new variety, or species, sprung up 
from the old stock long ago transplanted from the soil of Greece and Rome. 

27. It is true, indeed, that neither any ancient system of grammatical instruction 
nor any grammar of an other language, however contrived, can be entirely applica- 
ble to the present state of our tongue ; for languages must needs differ greatly 
one from an other, and even that which is called the same, may come in time to 
differ greatly from what it once was. But the general analogies of speech, which 
are the central principles of grammar, are but imperfectly seen by the man of one 
language. On the other hand, it is possible to know much of these general prin- 
ciples, and yet be very deficient in what is peculiar to our own tongue. Real im- 
provement in the grammar of our language, must result from a view that is neither 
partial nor superficial. " Time, sorry artist," as was said of old, " makes all he 
handles worse." And Lord Bacon, seeming to have this adage in view, suggests : 
" If Time of course alter all things to the worse, and Wisdom and Counsel shall 
not alter them to the better, what shall be the end ? " Bacon's Essays, p. 64. 

28. Hence the need that an able and discreet grammarian should now and then 
appear, who with skillful hand can effect those corrections which a change of fashion 
or the ignorance of authors may have made necessary ; but if he is properly qual- 
ified for his task, he will do all this without a departure from any of the great prin- 
ciples of Universal Grammar. He will surely be very far from thinking, with a 
certain modern author, whom I shall notice in an other chapter, that, " He is bound 
to take words and explain them as he finds them in his day, without any regard to 
their ancient construction and application." Kirkham's Gram. p. 28. The 
whole history of every word, so far as he can ascertain it, will be the view under 
which he will judge of what is right or wrong in the language which he teaches. 
Etymology is neither the whole of this view, nor yet to be excluded from it. I 
concur not therefore with Dr. Campbell, who, to make out a strong case, extrav- 
agantly says, "It is never from an attention to etymology, which would fre- 
quently mislead us, but from custom, the only infallible guide in this matter, that 
the meanings of words in present use must be learnt." Philosophy of Rhetoric, p. 
188. Jamieson too, with an implicitness little to be commended, takes this passage 
from Campbell ; and, with no other change than that of " learnt" to ** learned," 
publishes it as a corollary of his own. Grammar of Rhetoric, p. 42. It is 
folly to state for truth what is so obviously wrong. Etymology and custom are 
seldom at odds ; and where they are so, the latter can hardly be deemed infallible. 




" Respondeo, dupliciter aliquem dici grammaticum, art* et profcssione. Grammatici vera arte paurissimi 

iunt:(>: iii suut, ut patuit : lies mm vitupcrant Minimi viri ; quia ip?e Plinius cjusmodi 

_'r;imni!it.ii-a UbeUofl edidit, Kr (ici'in- v.-r.-t- i:r.umii:i'H-:p fuit diligeutissimu3 

doctor: - IB. Alii sunf _Tauim:iri< i [.. t--~ione, efii plerunique sunt iueptissiiui ; quia scribiinua 

hanr sihi artem vindicat : hos mastigias multis probris docti 

ammo jure insectantur." DESPAUTER. Synt.fol. 1. 

1. It is of primary importance in all discussions and expositions of doctrines, 
of any sort, to ascertain well the principles upon which our reasonings are to be 
founded, and to see that they be such as are immovably established in the nature 
of tilings ; for error in first principles is fundamental, and he who builds upon 
an uncertain foundation, incurs at least a hazard of seeing his edifice overthrown. 
The lover of truth will be, at all times, diligent to seek it, firm to adhere to it, 
willing to submit to it, and ready to promote it ; but even the truth may be urged 
unseasonably, and important facts are easily liable to be misjoined. It is proper, 
therefore, for every grammarian gravely to consider, whether and how far the prin- 
f his philosophy, his politics, his morals, or his religion, ought to influence, 
or actually do influence, his theory of language, and his practical instructions re- 

rting the n-rht use of words. In practice, grammar is so interwoven with all 
that is known, believed, learned, or spoken of among men, that to determine 
its own peculiar principles with due distinctness, seems to be one of the most dif- 
ficult points of a grammarian's duty. 

'2 From misapprehension, narrowness of conception, or improper bias, in rela- 
tion to this point, many authors have started wrong ; denounced others with in- 
temperate /eal ; departed themselves from sound doctrine ; and produced books 
which are disgraced not merely by occasional oversights, but by central and radical 
I lence, too, have sprung up, in the name of grammar, many unprofitable 
us, ami whimsical systems of teaching, calculated rather to embarrass 
than to inform the student. Mere collisions of opinion, conducted without any 
acknowledged standard to guide the judgement, never tend to real improvement. 
Grammar is unquestionably a branch of that universal philosophy by which the 
thoroughly educated mind is enlightened to see all things aright; for philosophy, 
in this sense of the term, is found in everything. Yet, properly speaking, the 
true grammarian is not a philosopher, nor can any man strengthen his title to the 
former character by claiming the latter ; and it is certain, that a most disheartening 

C portion of what in our language has been published under the name of Phi- 
iphio Grammar, ia equally remote from philosophy, from grammar, and from 
common s 

3 True Dammar is founded on the authority of reputable custom ; and that 

. on the use which men make of their reason. The proofs of what is right 

are accumulative, and on many points there can be no dispute, because our proofs 

from the l.e-t 089 >th obvious and innumerable. On the other hand, the 

evidence of what i- wmnir is rather oVmonstrative ; for when we would expose a 

particular error, we exhibit it in contrast with the established principle which it 

lie who formed the erroneous sentence, has in this case no alternative, 

but either to acknowledge th i, or to deny the authority of the rule. 

Then- are disputable principles in grammar, as there are moot points in law; but 

this circumstance affects no settled usqge in either ; and every person of sense 


and taste will choose to express himself in the way least liable to censure. All 
are free indeed from positive constraint on their phraseology ; for we do not speak 
or write by statutes. But the ground of instruction assumed in grammar, is 
similar to that upon which are established the maxims of common law, in juris- 
prudence. The ultimate principle, then, to which we appeal, as the only true 
standard of grammatical propriety, is that species of custom which critics de- 
nominate GOOD USE ; that is, present, reputable, general use. 

4. Yet a slight acquaintance with the history of grammar will suffice to show 
us, that it is much easier to acknowledge this principle, and to commend it in 
words, than to ascertain what it is, and abide by it in practice. Good use is that 
which is neither ancient nor recent, neither local nor foreign, neither vulgar nor 
pedantic ; and it will be found that no few have in some way or other departed 
from it, even while they were pretending to record its dictates But it is not to 
be concealed, that in every living language, it is a matter of much inherent diffi- 
culty, to reach the standard of propriety, where usage is various ; and to ascertain 
with clearness the decisions of custom, when we descend to minute details. Here 
is a field in which whatsoever is achieved by the pioneers of literature, can be 
appreciated only by thorough scholars ; for the progress of improvement in any 
art or science, can be known only to those who can clearly compare its ruder with 
its more refined stages ; and it often happens that what is effected with much 
labour, may be presented in a very small compass. 

5. But the knowledge of grammar may retrograde ; for whatever loses the 
vital principle of renovation and growth, tends to decay. And if mere copyists, 
compilers, abridgers, and modifiers, be encouraged as they now are, it surely will 
not advance. Style is liable to be antiquated by time, corrupted by innovation, 
debased by ignorance, perverted by conceit, impaired by negligence, and vitiated 
by caprice. And nothing but the living spirit of true authorship, and the appli- 
cation of just criticism, can counteract the natural tendency of these causes. 
English grammar is still in its infancy ; and even bears, to the imagination of some, 
the appearance of a deformed and ugly dwarf among the liberal arts. Treatises 
are multiplied almost innumerably, but still the old errors survive. Names are 
rapidly added to our list of authors, while little or nothing is done for the science. 
Nay, while new blunders have been committed in every new book, old ones have 
been allowed to stand as by prescriptive right ; and positions that were never true, 
and sentences that were never good English, have been published and republished 
under different names, till in our language grammar has become the most un- 
grammatical of all studies ! " Imitators generally copy their originals in an inverse 
ratio of their merits ; that is, by adding as much to their faults, as they lose of 
their merits." KNIGHT, on the Greek Alphabet, p. 117. 

" Who to the life an exact piece would make, 

Must not from others' work a copy take." Cowley. 

6. All science is laid in the nature of things ; and he only who seeks it there, 
can rightly guide others in the paths of knowledge. He alone can know whether 
his predecessors went right or wrong, who is capable of a judgement independent 
of theirs. But with what shameful servility have many false or faulty definitions 
and rules been copied and copied from one grammar to another, as if authority 
had canonized their errors, or none had eyes to see them ! Whatsoever is 
dignified and fair, is also modest and reasonable ; but modesty does not consist 
in having no opinion of one's own, nor reason in following with blind partiality 
the footsteps of others. Grammar unsupported by authority, is indeed mere fiction. 
But what apology is this, for that authorship which has produced so many gram- 
mars without originality ? Shall he who cannot write for himself, improve upon him 


who can ? Shall he who cannot paint, retouch the canvass of Guido ? Shall mod- 
est in-- unity be allowed only to imitators ami t> thieves? How many a prefatory 
argument i>Mies virtually in this ! It is not deference to merit, but impudent pre- 
tence, prac!i>in^ on tin- credulity of ignorance ! Commonness alone exempts it from 
scrutiny, and the success it ha,s, is but the wages of its own worth!- To 

rend and he informed, is to make a proper use of books for the advancement of 
learning ; but to assume to be an author by editing mere commonplaces and .stolen 
criticisms, is equally beneath the ambition of a scholar and the honesty of a 

<: 'Tis true, the ancients we may rob with ease ; 
But who with that mean shift himself can please ? " 

Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. 

7. Grammar being a practical art, with the principles of which every intelligent 
person is more or 1"- ited, it might be expected that a book written pro- 

lly on the subject, should exhibit some evidence of its author's skill. But it 
would >cem that a multitude of bad or indifferent writers have judged themselves 
qualified to teach the art of speaking and writing well ; so that correctness of 
Ian- m*' and neatness of style are as rarely to be found in grammars as in othei 
books. Nay, I have before suggested that in no other science are the principles 
of good writing so frequently and so shamefully violated. The code of false 
embraced in the following work, will go far to sustain this opinion. 
or, several excellent scholars, who have thought it an object 
-,!i worthy of their talents, to prescribe and elucidate the principles of English 
imiar. But these, with scarcely any exception, have executed their inade- 
quate d.-H'/ns, not as men engaged in their proper calling, but as mere literary 
aim "iiding for a day from their loftier purposes, to perform a service, 

I. and therefore approved, but very far from supplying all the aid 
that is requisite to a thorough knowledge of the subject. Even the most meritori- 
ous hi ye left ample room for improvement, though some have evinced an ability 
which does honour to themselves, while it gives cause to regret their lack of an 
inducement to greater labour. The mere grammarian can neither aspire to praise, 
nor stipulate for a reward ; and to those who were best qualified to write, the sub- 
ject could offer no adequate motive for diligence. 

8. Unlearned men, who neither make, nor can make, any pretensions to a knowl- 
edge of grammar as a study, if they show themselves modest in what they profess, are 
by no means to be despised or undervalued for the want of such knowledge. They are 
subject to no criticism, till they turn authors and write for the public. And even 
then they are to K .:"ntly, if they have any thing to communicate, which is 

worthy to be accepted in a homely dress. Grammatical inaccuracies are to be 
kin 1, in all those from whom nothing better can be expected ; for people 

are often under a >!' appearing as speakers or writers, before they can 

hav ! write or vaniinatieally. 'j'he body is more to be regarded 

th:m raiment ; and the "fan int'-restin-j: message, may make the manner 

of it a little tiling. Men of high purpose^ naturally <purn all that is comparatively 
low; or all tint m '\vr wrought, ostentatious, or finical. Hence St. 

1. in writing in the < 1 <>rint ; < : :hat the design of his preaching 

<'d. had li 'he orator, and turned his attention to 

e " ex'-'dleii'-y ." or "wisdom of words." But this view of things 

piv-,..|f- n.i more -round for uninar, and making coarse and v 

our model of - : ian tor ne^l.s^in- j making bai/e and 

ihorts Timothy to hold fast 

the f.irm of sound wordt" \vhi-h he himself had taught him. Nor can it be de- 
nied that there is an nhlijjnr upon all men, to use speech fairly and un- 
derstandingly. But let it be remembered, that all those upon whose opinions or 


practices I am disposed to animadvert, are either professed grammarians and philos- 
ophers, or authors who, by extraordinary pretensions, have laid themselves under 
special obligations to be accurate in the use of language. "The wise in heart 
shall be called prudent; and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning." 
Prov. xvi, 21. " The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the well- 
spring of wisdom [is] as a flowing brook." Ib. xviii, 4. ' A fool's mouth is his 
destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul." Ib. xviii, 7. 

9. The old maxim recorded by Bacon, " Loquendum ut vidgus, sentiendum ut 
sapientes " " We should speak as the vulgar, but think as the wise," is not to be 
taken without some limitation. For whoever literally speaks as the vulgar, shall 
offend vastly too much with his tongue, to have either the understanding of the 
wise or the purity of the good. In all untrained and vulgar minds, the ambition 
of speaking well is but a dormant or very weak principle. Hence the great mass 
of uneducated people are lamentably careless of what they utter, both as to the 
matter and the manner ; and no few seem naturally prone to the constant imita- 
tion of low example, andsome, to the practice of every abuse of which language 
is susceptible. Hence, as every scholar knows, the least scrupulous of our lexi- 
cographers notice many terms but to censure them as " low" and omit many more 
as being beneath their notice. Vulgarity of language, then, ever has been, and 
ever must be, repudiated by grammarians. Yet we have had pretenders to gram- 
mar, who could court the favour of the vulgar, though at the expense of all the 
daughters of Mnemosyne. 

10. Hence the enormous insult to learning and the learned, conveyed in the 
following scornful quotations : " Grammarians, go to your tailors and shoemakers, 
and learn from them the rational art of constructing your grammars ! " Neef's 
Method of Education, p. 62. " From a labyrinth without a clew, in which the 
most enlightened scholars of Europe have mazed themselves and misguided others, 
the author ventures to turn aside." CardeWs Gram. 12 mo, p. 15. Again: 
"The nations of unlettered men so adapted their language to philosophic truth, 
that all physical and intellectual research can find no essential rule to reject or 
change." Ibid, p. 91. I have shown that " the nations of unlettered men " are 
among that portion of the earth's population, upon whose language the genius of 
grammar has never yet condescended to look down ! That people who make no 
pretensions to learning, can furnish better models or instructions than " the most 
enlightened scholars," is an opinion which ought not to be disturbed by argument. 

11. I regret to say, that even Dr. Webster, with all his obligations and pre- 
tensions to literature, has well-nigh taken ground with Neef and Cardell, as above 
cited ; and has not forborne to throw contempt, even on grammar as such, and on 
men of letters indiscriminately, by supposing the true principles of every lan- 
guage to be best observed and kept by the illiterate. What marvel then, that all 
his multifarious grammars of the English language are despised V Having sug- 
gested that the learned must follow the practice of the populace, because they cannot 
control it, he adds : " Men of letters may revolt at this suggestion, but if they 
will attend to the history of our language, they will find the fact to be as here stated. 
It is commonly supposed that the tendency of this practice of unlettered men is to 
corrupt the language. But the fact is directly the reverse. I am prepared to 
prove, were it consistent with the nature of this work, that nineteen-twentieths of all 
the corruptions of our language, for five hundred years past, have been introduced 
by authors men who have made alterations in particular idioms which they did 
not understand. The same remark is applicable to the orthography and pronun- 
ciation. The tendency of unlettered men is to uniformity to analogy ; and so 
strong is this disposition, that the common people have actually converted some of 
our irregular verbs into regular ones. It is to unlettered people that we owe the 
disuse of holpen, bounden, sitten, and the use of the regular participles swelled, 
helped, worked^ in place of the ancient ones. This popular tendency is not to be 


contemned and disregarded, as some of the learned affect to do ; [this verb 
'do ' is wronu r , Because ' to be contemned ' is passive ;] for it is governed by the 
natural, primary j>rt //'/,/, s of all laiH/nnr/es, to which we owe all their regularity 
an;l all their melody ; vi/.., a love of uniformity in weirds of a like character, and 
a preference of an easy natural pronunciation, and a desire to express the most 
ideas with the smallest number of words and syllables It is a fortunate thing for 
Ian ^uaire, that these nafi'ml prim-ijiles generally prevail over arbitrary and arti- 
ficial ruli's." \Vflmf cr's J'/tf/onop/n'cal Grain, p. 119; Improved Gram. p. 78. 
& much for unlettered erudition .' 

\'l. If every thing that has been taught under the name of grammar, is to be 
considered as belonging to the science, it will be impossible ever to determine in 
what estimation the study of it ought to be held ; for all that has ever been urged 
either for or against it, may, upon such a principle, be proved by reference to 
different authorities and irreconcilable opinions. But all who are studious to know, 
ami content to follow, the fashion established by the concurrent authority of the 
l-'irned* may at least have some standard to refer to ; and if a grammarian's rules 
be based upon this authority, it must be considered the exclusive privilege of the 
unlearned to despise them as it is of the unbred, to contemn the rules of civility. 
But who shall determine whether the doctrines contained in any given treatise are, 
or arc not, based upon such authority? Who shall decide whether the contribu- 
tions which any individual may make to our grammatical code, are, or are not, 
consonant with the best usage ? For this, there is no tribunal but the mass of 
of whom few perhaps are very competent judges. And here an author's 
itation for erudition and judgement, may be available to him : it is the public 
voice in his favour. Yet every man is at liberty to form his own opinion, and to 
alter it whenever better knowledge leads him to think differently. 

13. But the great misfortune is, that they who need instruction, are not quali- 
fied to choose their instructor ; and many who must make this choice for their 
I children, have no adequate means of ascertaining either the qualifications of such 
as offer themselves, or the com] tarative merits of the different methods by which 
they profess to teach. Hence this great branch of learning, in itself too compre- 
hensive for the genius or the life of any one man. has ever been open to as various 
and worthless a set of quacks and plagiaries as have ever figured in any other. 
There always have been some who knew this, and there may be many who know 
it now ; but the credulity and ignorance which expose so great a majority of man- 
kind to deception and error, are not likely to be soon obviated. With every indi- 
vidual who is so fortunate as to receive any of the benefits of intellectual culture, 
I the whole prooeai of education must be^in anew; and, by all that sober minds can 
credit, the vision of human perfectibility is far enough from any national consum- 

1 I. Whatever any may think of their own ability, or however some might flout 
to find their . ired or their pretensions disallowed ; whatever improvement 

may actually have been made, or however fondly we may listen to boasts and 

I felicitations on that topic ; it is pre-irmed, that the general ignorance on the subject 
of grammar, . is t><> ubvious to be denied. W hat then is the remedy ? 

and t.i whom must our appeal lie made'.' Knowledge cannot be imposed by power, 
nor is there any domination in the republic of letters. The remedy lies solely in 
that zeal whieh ean provoke to a jrem-rmis emulation in the cause of literature ; and 
the appeal, whieh has recourse to the learning of the learned, and to the common 

* " A very good judsro ha inion .-md di-t.-nnination in this matter ; that he { would take for hifl 

rule in : <> be the faulty caprii-,- i.f the multitude, but the consent and agree- 

'Ijuiltfe" here spoken of. is (Juinrilian : whose. 

''--.irimn >-*t jinliriuiii. i-im-fr iicndiuii'iiir imprimis id i|>.-um i(iiiil .-it. 
i >.vmu~. In loqoeodo, non, si quid vitio.-r muUi- regula sermoDis, ac- 

cipiendum est Ki%ro ronsu.'tudinem sermonia, Tocabo consensum ervditorum ; sicut vivendi, conaensum 
bonorum." Jnst. Orat., i, 6. 


sense of all, must be pressed home to conviction, till every false doctrine stand 
refuted, and every weak pretender exposed or neglected. Then shall Science 
honour them that honour her ; and all her triumphs be told, all her instructions be 
delivered, in " sound speech that cannot be condemned." 

15. A generous man is not unwilling to be corrected, and a just one cannot 
but desire to be set right in all things. Even over noisy gainsayers, a calm and 
dignified exhibition of true doctrine, has often more influence than ever openly 
appears. I have even seen the author of a faulty grammar heap upon his corrector 
more scorn and personal abuse than would fill a large newspaper, and immediately 
afterwards, in a new edition of his book, renounce the errors which had been pointed 
out to him, stealing the very language of his amendments from the man whom he 
had so grossly vilified ! It is true that grammarians have ever disputed, and often 
with more acrimony than discretion. Those who, in elementary treatises, have 
meddled much with philological controversy, have well illustrated the couplet of 
Denham : 

" The tree of knowledge, blasted by disputes, 
Produces sapless leaves in stead of fruits." 

16. Thus, then, as I have before suggested, we find among writers on grammar 
two numerous classes of authors, who have fallen into opposite errors, perhaps 
equally reprehensible ; the visionaries, and the copyists. The former have ventured 
upon too much originality, the latter have attempted too little. " The science of 
philology," says Dr. Alexander Murray, " is not a frivolous study, fit to be con- 
ducted by ignorant pedants or visionary enthusiasts. It requires more qualifications 
to succeed in it, than are usually united in those who pursue it : a sound penetrating 
judgement ; habits of calm philosophical induction ; an erudition various, extensive, 
and accurate; and a mind likewise, that can direct the knowledge expressed in 
words, to illustrate the nature of the signs which convey it. l ' Murray's History 
of European Languages, Vol. ii, p. 333. 

17. They who set aside the authority of custom, and judge every thing to be 
ungrammatical which appears to them to be unphilosophical, render the whole 
ground forever disputable, and weary themselves in beating the air. So various 
have been the notions of this sort of critics, that it would be difficult to mention an 
opinion not found in some of their books. Amidst this rage for speculation on a 
subject purely practical, various attempts have been made, to overthrow that system 
of instruction, which long use has rendered venerable, and long experience proved 
to be useful. But it is manifestly much easier to raise even plausible objections 
against this system, than to invent an other less objectionable. Such attempts have 
generally met the reception they deserved. Their history will give no encourage- 
ment to future innovators. 

18. Again : While some have thus wasted their energies in excentric flights, 
vainly supposing that the learning of ages would give place to their whimsical 
theories ; others, with more success, not better deserved, have multiplied grammars 
almost innumerably, by abridging or modifying the books they had used in childhood. 
So that they who are at all acquainted with the origin and character of the various 
compends thus introduced into our schools, cannot but desire to see them all dis- 
placed by some abler and better work, more honourable to its author and more 
useful to the public, more intelligible to students and more helpful to teachers. 
Books professedly published for the advancement of knowledge, are very frequently 
to be reckoned among its greatest impediments; for the interests of learning are 
no less injured by whimsical doctrines, than the rights of authorship by plagiarism. 
Too many of our grammars, profitable only to their makers and venders, are like 
weights attached to the heels of Hermes. It is discouraging to know the history 
of this science. But the multiplicity of treatises already in use, is a reason, not for 
silence, but for offering more. For, as Lord Bacon observes, the number of ill- 


written books is not to be diminished by ceasing to write, but by writing others 
which, like Aaron's serpent, shall swallow up the spurious.* 

19. I have said that some grammars have too much originality, and others too 
little. It may be added, that not a few are chargeable with both these faults at 
once. They are original, or at least anonymous, where there should have been 
given other authority than that of the compiler's name; and they are copies, or, at 
best, poor imitations, where the author should have shown himself capable of writing 
"I sryle of his own. What then is the middle ground for the true grammarian V 
What is the kind, and what the degree, of originality, which are to be commended 
in works of this sort ? In the first place, a grammarian must be a writer, an author, 
a man who observes and thinks for himself; and not a mere compiler, abridger, 
modifier, copyist, or plagiarist. Grammar is not the only subject upon which we 
allow no man to innovate in doctrine ; why, then, should it be the only one upon 
which a man may make it a merit, to work up silently into a book of his own, the 
best materials found among the instructions of his predecessors and rivals ? Some 
definitions and rules, which in the lapse of time and by frequency of use have become 
a sort of public property, the grammarian may perhaps be allowed to use at his 
pleasure ; yet even upon these a man of any genius will be apt to set some impress 
peculiar to himself. But the doctrines of his work ought, in general, to be ex- 
i in his own language, and illustrated by that of others. With respect to 
quotation , he has all the liberty of other writers, and no more ; for, if a grammarian 
makes " use of his predecessors' labours," why should any one think with Murray, 
" it is s'-arcely necessary to apologize for " this, " or for omitting to insert their 
names'.''' Introd. to L. Murray's Gram. p. 7. 

J<>. The author of this volume would here take the liberty briefly to refer to his 
own procedure. His knowledge of what is technical in grammar, was of course 
chiefly derived from the writings of other grammarians ; and to their concurrent 
Opinions and practices, he has always had great respect; yet, in truth, not a line 
has he ever copied from any of them with a design to save the labour of composition. 
For, not to compile an English grammar from others already extant, but to compose 
one more directly from the sources of the art, was the task which he at first proposed 
to himself. Nor is there in all the present volume a single sentence, not regularly 
quoted, the authorship of which he supposes may now be ascribed to an other more 
properly than to himself. Where either authority or acknowledgement was requisite, 
:a\c lic.-n inserted. In the doctrinal parts of the volume, not only quotations 
from others, but mo>t examples made for the occasion, are marked with guillemots, 
to distinguish them from the main text; while, to almost every thing which is really 
taken from any other known writer, a name or reference is added. For those 
citations, however, which there was occasion to repeat in different parts of the work, 
a single referenee h;^ >onieiimes been thought sufficient. This remark refers chiefly 
to the correction-; in the Key, the references being given in the Exercises. 

Jl. Though the theme is not one on which a man may hope to write well with 
little reflection, it i< true that the parts of this treatise which have cost the author 
the mo.-t lalior, are those which "consist chiefly of materials selected from the 
writings of oth e, however, are not the didactical portions of the book, 

but the proofs and examples ; which, according to the custom of the ancient 
grammarians, ouiiht to lie taken from other authors. But so much have the makers 
of our moilern grammars been allowed to presume upon the respect and acquiescence 
of their readers, that the an. -lent exactness on this point would often appear pedantic. 
Many phra-e- and .-entcnccs, either original with the writer, or common to every 
body, will therefore be found among the illustrations of the following work ; for it 

* " Tho opinion of vcr^t. tho r.nusos of want : and the pnvat quantity of books maketh a show 

rather of superfluity than l':i'-k : which furehU|, BflYertheta '^' making no more 

ic by making iim;, -ni.'lif Jevour the serpents of the 

Defaulter*." Bacon. In point of Miip is here deficient ; and he haa also mixed and marred the 

figure which he uses. But the idea is a good one. 



was not supposed that any reader would demand for every thing of this kind the 
authority of some great name. Anonymous examples are sufficient to elucidate 
principles, if not to establish them ; and elucidation is often the sole purpose for 
which an example is needed. 

22. It is obvious enough, that no writer on grammar has any right to propose 
himself as authority for what he teaches ; for every language, being the common 
property of all who use it, ought to be carefully guarded against the caprices of 
individuals ; and especially against that presumption which might attempt to impose 
erroneous or arbitrary definitions and rules. " Since the matter of which we are 
treating," says the philologist of Salamanca, " is to be verified, first by reason, and 
then by testimony and usage, none ought to wonder if we sometimes deviate from 
the track of great men ; for, with whatever authority any grammarian may weigh 
with me, unless he shall have confirmed his assertions by reason, and also by 
examples, he shall win no confidence in respect to grammar. For, as Seneca says, 
Epistle 95, ' Grammarians are the guardians, not the authors, of language.' " 
Sanctii Minerva, Lib. ii, Cap. 2. Yet, as what is intuitively seen to be true or 
false, is already sufficiently proved or detected, many points in grammar need 
nothing more than to be clearly stated and illustrated ; nay, it would seem an 
injurious reflection on the understanding of the reader, to accumulate proofs of 
what cannot but be evident to all who speak the language. 

23. Among men of the same profession, there is an unavoidable rivalry, so far 
as they become competitors for the same prize ; but in competition there is nothing 
dishonourable, while excellence alone obtains distinction, and no advantage is sought 
by unfair means. It is evident that we ought to account him the best grammarian, 
who has the most completely executed the worthiest design. But no worthy design 
can need a false apology ; and it is worse than idle to prevaricate. That is but a 
spurious modesty, which prompts a man to disclaim in one way what he assumes in 
an other or to underrate the duties of his office, that he may boast of having 
" done all that could reasonably be expected." Whoever professes to have improved 
the science of English grammar, must claim to know more of the matter than the 
generality of English grammarians; and he who begins with saying, that " little 
can be expected " from the office he assumes, must be wrongfully contradicted, 
when he is held to have done much. Neither the ordinary power of speech, nor 
even the ability to write respectably on common topics, makes a man a critic among 
critics, or enables him to judge of literary merit. And if, by virtue of these 
qualifications alone, a man will become a grammarian or a connoisseur, he can hold 
the rank only by courtesy a courtesy which is content to degrade the character, 
that his inferior pretensions may be accepted and honoured under the name. 

24. By the force of a late popular example, still too widely influential, grammatical 
authorship has been reduced, in the view of many, to little or nothing more than a 
mere serving-up of materials anonymously borrowed ; and, what is most remarkable, 
even for an indifferent performance of this low office, not only unnamed reviewers, 
but several writers of note, have not scrupled to bestow the highest praise of 
grammatical excellence ! And thus the palm of superior skill in grammar, has 
been borne away by a professed compiler ; who had so mean an opinion of what 
his theme required, as to deny it even the common courtesies of compilation ! 
What marvel is it, that, under the wing of such authority, many writers have since 
sprung up, to improve upon this most happy design ; while all who were competent 
to the task, have been discouraged from attempting any thing like a complete 
grammar of our language ? What motive shall excite a man to long-continued 
diligence, where such notions prevail as give mastership no hope of preference, and 
where the praise of his ingenuity and the reward of his labour must needs be 
inconsiderable, till some honoured compiler usurp them both, and bring his " most 
useful matter " before the world under better auspices? If the love of learning 
supply such a motive, who that has generously yielded to the impulse, will not 
now, like Johnson, feel himself reduced to an " humble drudge " or, like 


Perizonius, apologize for the apparent folly of devoting his time to such a subject 
as grammar ? 

25. The first edition of the " Institutes of English Grammar," the doctrinal 
parts of which arc embraced in the present more copious work, was published in 
the year 18:23 ; since which time, (within the space of twelve years,) about forty 
new compends, mostly professing to be abstracts of Murray, with improvements, 
have been added to our list of English grammars. The author lias examined as 
many as thirty of them, and seen advertisements of perhaps a dozen more. Being 
various in character, they will of course be variously estimated ; but, so far as he 
can judge, they are, without exception, works of little or no real merit, and not 
likely to be much patronized or long preserved from oblivion. For which reason, 
he would have been inclined entirely to disregard the petty depredations which the 
writers of several of them have committed upon his earlier text, were it not possible, 
that by such a frittering-away of his work, he himself might one day seem to some 
to have copied that from others which was first taken from him. Trusting to make 
it manifest to men of learning, that in the production of the books which bear his 
name, far more has been done for the grammar of our language than any single 
hand had before achieved within the scope of practical philology, and that with 
perfect fairness towards other writers ; he cannot but feel a wish that the integrity 
of his text should be preserved, whatever el.-e may befall ; and that the multitude 
of scribblers who judge it so needful to remodel Murray's defective compilation, 
would forbear to publish under his name or their own what they find only in the 
following pages. 

:M. Tin mrre rivalry of their authorship is no subject of concern; but it is 
enough for any ingenuous man to have toiled for years in solitude to complete a 
work of public utility, without entering a warfare for life to defend and preserve it. 
Accidental coincidences in books are unfrequent, and not often such as to excite 
the suspicion of the most sensitive. But, though the criteria of plagiarism are 
neither obscure nor disputable, it is not easy, in this beaten track of literature, for 
persons of little reading to know what is, or is not, original. Dates must be 
accurately observed ; and a multitude of minute things must be minutely compared. 
And who will undertake such a task but he that is personally interested ? Of the 
thousands who are forced into the paths of learning, few ever care to know, by 
what pioneer, or with what labour, their way was cast up for them. And even of 
those who are honestly engaged in teaching, not many are adequate judges of the 
comparative merits of the great number of books on this subject. The common 
notions of mankind conform more easily to fashion than to truth ; and even of 
some things within their reach, the majority seem content to take their opinions 
upon trust. Hence, it is vain to expect that that which is intrinsically best, will 
be everywhere preferred ; or that which is meritoriously elaborate, adequately 
appreciated. But nunmon sense might dictate, that learning is not encouraged or 
cted by those who, for the making of books, prefer a pair of scissors to the pen. 

'11 . The fortune of a grammar is not always an accurate test of its merits. 
The goddess of the plenteous horn stands blindfold yet upon the floating prow ; 
and, under her capricious favour, any pirate-craft, ill stowed with plunder, may 
sometimes speed as well, as larges richly laden from the golden mines of science. 
Far more are now afloat, and more are stranded on dry shelves, than can be 
here reported. But what this work contains, is candidly designed to qualify the 
reader to be himself a judge of what it shoulil contain ; and I will hope, so ample a 
report as this, being thought sufficient, will also meet his approbation. The favour 
of one discerning mind that comprehends my subject, is worth intrinsically more 
than that of half the nation : 1 mean, of course, the half of whom my gentle 
reader is not one. 

" They praise and they admire they know not what, 
And kiow not whom, but as one leads the other." MiUon. 




" Non is ego sum, cui aut jucundum, aut adeo opus sis, de aliis detrahere, et hac via ad famam contendere. 
Melioribus artibu.s lauloin parare didici. Itaque nou libeuter dico, quod praesens institutum dicere cogit/' 
Jo. AUGUSTI ERNESTI Pref. ad GrtKcum Lexicon, p. vii. 

1. The real history of grammar is little known ; and many erroneous impres- 
sions are entertained concerning it : because the story of the systems most generally 
received has never been fully told ; and that of a multitude now gone to oblivion 
was never worth telling. In the distribution of grammatical fame, which has 
chiefly been made by the hand of interest, we have had a strange illustration of 
the saying : " Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abun- 
dance ; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he 
hath." Some whom fortune has made popular, have been greatly overrated, if 
learning and talent are to be taken into the account ; since it is manifest, that 
with no extraordinary claims to either, they have taken the very foremost rank 
among grammarians, and thrown the learning and talents of others into the shade, 
or made them tributary to their own success and popularity. 

2 It is an ungrateful task to correct public opinion by showing the injustice of 
praise. Fame, though it may have been both unexpected and undeserved, is 
apt to be claimed and valued as part and parcel of a man's good name ; and the 
dissenting critic, though ever-so candid, is liable to be thought an envious detrac- 
tor. It would seem in general most prudent to leave mankind to find out for 
themselves how far any commendation bestowed on individuals is inconsistent with 
truth. But, be it remembered, that celebrity is not a virtue ; nor, on the other 
hand, is experience the cheapest of teachers. A good man may not have done all 
things ably -ind well ; and it is certainly no small mistake to estimate his character 
by the current value of his copy-rights Criticism may destroy the reputation of 
a book, and not be inconsistent with a cordial respect for the private worth of its 
author. The reader will not be likely to be displeased with what is to be stated in 
this chapter, if he can believe, that no man's merit as a writer, may well be en- 
hanced by ascribing to him that which he himself, for the protection of his own 
honour, has been constrained to disclaim. He cannot suppose that too much is 
alleged, if he will admit that a grammarian's fame should bo thought safe enough 
in his own keeping. Are authors apt to undervalue their own performances ? Or 
because proprietors and publishers may profit by the credit of a book, shall it be 
thought illiberal to criticise it V Is the author himself to be disbelieved, that the 
extravagant praises bestowed upon him may be justified ? " Superlative commen- 
dation," says Dillwyn, " is near akin to detraction." (See his Reflections, p. 
22.) Let him, therefore, who will charge detraction upon me, first understand 
wherein it consists. I shall criticise, freely, both the works of the living, and the 
doctrines of those who, to us, live only in their works ; and if any man dislike this 
freedom, let him rebuke it, showing wherein it is wrong or unfair. The amiable 
author just quoted, says again : " Praise lias so often proved an impostor, that it 
woul I be well, wherever we meet with it, to treat it as a vagrant." Ih. p. 100. 
I go not so far as this ; but that eulogy which one knows to be false, he cannot but 
reckon impertinent. 

3. Few writers on grammar have been more noted than WILLIAM LILY and 
LINDLEY MURRAY. Others have left better monuments of their learning and tal- 
ents, but none perhaps have had greater success and fame. The Latin grammar 


which was for a long time most popular in England, has commonly been ascribed 
to the one ; and what the Imperial Review, in 1805, pronounced "the best Eng- 
lish grammar, beyond all comparison, that has yet appeared," was compiled by the 
other. And doubtless they have both been rightly judged to excel the generality 
of those which they were intended to supersede ; and both, in their day, may have 
been highly serviceable to the cause of learning. For all excellence is but com- 
parative ; and to grant them this superiority, is neither to prefer them now, nor to 
ju>tity the praise which has been bestowed upon their authorship. As the science 
of grammar can never be taught without a book, or properly taught by any book 
which is not itself grammatical, it is of some importance both to teachers and to 
students, to make choice of the best. Knowledge will not advance where gram- 
mar- hold rank by prescription. Yet it is possible that many, in learning to write 
and sjieak, may have derived no inconsiderable benefit from a book that is neither 
accurate nor complete. 

4. With respect to time, these two grammarians were three centuries apart ; 
during which period, the English language received its most classical refinement, 
and the relative estimation of the two studies, Latin and English grammar, became 
in a great measure reversed. Lily was an Englishman, born at Odiham,* in 
Hampshire, in 14<'><>. "When he had arrived at manhood, he went on a pilgrimage 
to .Jerusalem; and while abroad studied some time at Rome, and also at Paris. 
On his return he was thought one of the most accomplished scholars in England. 
In 1 fill i. ]>r. John Colet, dean of St. Paul's church, in London, appointed him the 
first high master of St. Paul's School, then recently founded by this gentleman's 
munificence. In this situation, Lily appears to have taught with great credit to 
himself till 1;VJ'J, when he died of the plague, at the age of 56. For the use 
of this school, he wrote and published certain parts of the grammar which has since 
borne his name. Of the authorship of this work many curious particulars are 
stated in the preface by John Ward, which may be seen in the edition of 1793. 
Lily had able rivals, as well as learned coadjutors and friends. By the aid of the 
latter, he took precedence of the former; and his publications, though not volumi- 
nous, soon gained a general popularity. So that when an arbitrary king saw fit to 
silence competition among the philologists, by becoming himself, as Sir Thomas 
Elliott says, "thechiefe authour and setter-forth of an introduction into grammar, 
for the childrene of his lovynge subjects," Lily's Grammar was preferred for the 
i the standard. Hence, after the publishing of it became a privilege patented 
by the crown, the book appears to have been honoured with a royal title, and to 
have 1 cen familiarly called King Henry's Grammar. 

f>. Prefixed to this book, there appears a very ancient epistle to the reader, 
which while it shows the reasons for this royal interference with grammar, shows 
-.hat is worthy of remembrance, that guarded and maintained as it uas, even 
royal interference was here ineffectual to its purpose. It neither piodm-ed uniform- 
ity in the methods of teaching, nor, even for induction in a dead language, en- 
tirely prevented the old manual from becoming diverse in its different editions. 
i-o may serve to illustrate what I have elsewhere said about the duties 
of a modern urammarian. " As for the diversitie of grammars, it is well and 
profitably taken awaie by the Kind's Majesties wiadmej who, foreseeing the in- 
eonvenicTice, and favorably providing the remedie. caused one kind of grammar 
by sundry learned men to be diligently drawn, and M> to be -et out. only every 
wh.eie to hi' taught, for the use of learners, and for the hurt in changing <f schoole- 
mai- That is. to prevent the injury which schoolmaster- \\vre doing by a 

whim.-i. al choice, or frequent changing, of grammars. But. BBy the letter. "The 
varietie of teaching is divers yet. and ahvaies will be ; for that every sehoolemaister 
liketh that he knov\eth, and seeth not the use of that he knoweth not ; and there- 

; (>l>lhnm.\ plain p*bire," an the I'titom! Hif.prai >hical Dictionary ha* it; for Oldkam is in 
Lancashire, and the n&be of Lily's birthplace baa sometimes been spelled 


fore judge th that the most sufficient waie, which he seeth to be the readiest meane, 
and perfectest kinde, to bring a learner to have a thorough knowledge therein." 
The only remedy for such an evil then is, to teach those who are to be teachers, 
and to desert all who, for any whim of their own, desert sound doctrine. 

6. But, to return. A law was made in England by Henry the Eighth, com- 
manding Lily's Grammar only, (or that which has commonly been quoted as 
Lily's,) to be everywhere adopted and taught, as the common standard of gram- 
matical instruction.* Being long kept in force by means of a special inquiry, 
directed to be made by the bishops at their stated visitations, this law, for three 
hundred years, imposed the book on all the established schools of the realm. Yet 
it is certain, that about one half of what has thus gone under the name of Lily, 
(" because," says one of the patentees, " he had so considerable a hand in the 
composition,) was written by Dr. Colet, by Erasmus, or by others who improved 
the work after Lily's death. And of the other half, it has been incidentally as- 
serted in history, that neither the scheme nor the text was original. The Printer's 
Grammar, London, 1787, speaking of the art of type-foundery, says : " The Ital- 
ians in a short time brought it to that perfection, that in the beginning of the year 
1474, they cast a letter not much inferior to the best types of the present age ; as 
may be seen in a Latin Grammar, written by Omnibonus Leonicenus, and printed 
at Padua on the 14th of January, 1474 ; from whom our grammarian, Lily, has 
taken the entire scheme of his Grammar, and transcribed the greatest part 
thereof, without paying any regard to the memory of this author. ' ' The histo- 
rian then proceeds to speak about types. See also the same thing in the History 
of Printing, 8vo, London, 1770. This is the grammar which bears upon its title 
page : " Quam solam Regia Majestas in omnibus scholis docendam prcecipit." 

7. Murray was an intelligent and very worthy man, to whose various labours 
in the compilation of books our schools are under many obligations. But in orig- 
inal thought and critical skill he fell far below most of " the authors to whom," 
he confesses, " the grammatical part of his compilation is principally indebted for 
its materials ; namely, Harris, Johnson, Lowth, Priestley, Beattie, Sheridan, 
Walker, Coote, Blair, and Campbell." Introd. to Lindley Murray's Gram. p. 7. 
It is certain and evident that he entered upon his task with a very insufficien 
preparation. His biography, which was commenced by himself and completed ^ 
one of his most partial friends, informs us, that, " Grammar did not particularly 
engage his attention, until a short time previous to the publication of his first work 
on that subject ;" that, " His Grammar, as it appeared in the first edition, was 
completed in rather less than a year ; " that, " It was begun in the spring of 1794, 
and published in the spring of 1795 though he had an intervening illness, which, 
for several weeks, stopped the progress of the work ; " and that, " The Exercises 
and Key were also composed in about a year." Life of L. Murray, p. 188. 
From the very first sentence of his book, it appears that he entertained but a low 
and most erroneous idea of the duties of that sort of character in which he was 
about to come before the public. t He improperly imagined, as many others have 
done, that " little can be expected " from a modern grammarian, or (as he chose 
to express it) " from a new compilation, besides a careful selection of the most 
useful matter, and some degree of improvement in the mode of adapting it to the 

* There are other Latin grammars now in use in England ; but what one is most popular, or whether any 
regard is still paid to this ancient edict or not, I cannot say. Dr. Adam, in his preface, dated 1793, speaking 
of Lily, savs : u His Grammar was appointed, by an act which is still in force, to be taught in the established 
schools of England." I have somehow gained the impression, that the act is now totally disregarded. G. 

t For this there is an obvious reason, or apology, in what his biographer states, as " the humble origin of 
his Grammar;" and it is such a reason as will go to confirm what I allege. This famous compilation was 
product*d at the request of two or three yoitu^ tfarhers, who had charge of a swill frntnlc school in the 
neighbourhood of the author's residence ; and nothing could have been more unexpected to their friend and 
instructor, th;m that he, in consequence of this service, should become known the world over, as Murray the 
Grammarian. " In preparing the work, ami consenting to its publication, he had on expectation that it 
would be used, except by the school for which it was designed, and two or three othef^ chools conducted by 
persons who were also his friends/' Life of L'. Murray, p. 260. 


understanding, and the gradual progress of learners." Infrod. to L. Murray's 
Grain. vo, p. 5 ; 12mo, p. 3. As if, to be master of his own art to think and 
write well himself, were no part of a grammarian's business ! And again, as if 
the jewels of scholarship, thus carefully selected, could need a burnish or a foil 
from other hands than those which fashioned them ! 

8. Murray's general idea of the doctrines of grammar was judicious. He 
attempted no broad innovation on what had been previously taught; for he had 
neither the vanity to suppose he could give currency to novelties, nor the folly to 
waste his time in labours utterly nugatory. By turning his own abilities to their 
hot account, he seems to have done much to promote and facilitate the study of 
our language. But his notion of grammatical authorship, cuts off from it all 
pretence to literary merit, for the sake of doing good ; and, taken in any other 

than as a forced apology for his own assumptions, his language on this point 
is highly injurious towards the very authors whom he copied. To justify himself> 
he ungenerously places them, in common with others, under a degrading necessity 
which no able grammarian ever felt, and which every man of genius or learning 
must repudiate. If none of our older grammars disprove his assertion, it is time 
to have a new one that will ; for, to expect the perfection of grammar from him 
who cannot treat the subject in a style at once original and pure, is absurd. He 
says, " The greater part of an English grammar must necessarily be a compilation; " 
and adds, with reference to his own, " originality belongs to but a small portion of 
it. This I have acknowledged ; and I trust this acknowledgement will protect me 
from all attacks, grounded on any supposed unjust and irregular assumptions." 
This quotation is from a letter addressed by Murray to his American publishers, 
in IS 11, after they had informed him of certain complaints respecting the liberties 
which he had taken in his work. See " The friend," vol. iii, p. 34. 

9. The acknowledgement on which he thus relies, does not appear to have been 
made, till his grammar had gone through several editions. It was, however, at 
some period, introduced into his short preface, or " Introduction," in the following 
well-meant but singularly sophistical terms : " In a icork which professes itself to 
be a r',m/>i/itti't/i, ami which, from f/- nature and design of it, must consist chiefly 
of materials selected from the writings of others, it is scarcely necessary to 
apologize for the use which the Compiler has made of his predecessors' labours, 
or for omitting to insert their names. From the alterations which have been 
frequently made in the sentiments and the language, to suit the connexion, and to 
adapt them to the particular purposes f<r whirh they are introduced ; and, in many 

' tin i nt >/ to witom the passages originally belonged, the 

insert!' -n of names ron/t/ seldom be made with propriety. But if this could have 
been generally done, a work of this nature w<i],l d< ,(<> no advantage from if, 
equal to the inconvenience of crowding the pages with a repetition of names and 
references. It is, however, proper to acknowledge, in general terms, that the 
authors to whom the grammatical part of this compilation is principally indebted 
for its matcri;:' ris, -Johnson, Lowth, Priestley, l>eattie, Sheridan, Walker, 

ami Toote." Introd. 1> a. p. 4; Octavo, p. 7. 

10. The fallacy, or absurdity, of this language sprung from necessity. An 
imp< it. For compilation, though ever so fair, is not 
grammatical authorship, But some of the commenders of Murray have not only 
professed them with this general acknowledgement, but have found in 
it a can-lour ami a liberality, a modesty ami a diffidence, which, as they allege, ought 
to protect him from all animadversion. Are they friends to learning ' Let them 
calmly con-ider what I reluctantly offer for its defence and promotion. In one of 
the recommendations appended to Murray's grammars, it is said, " They have 
nearly superseded every thing el>e of the kind, by concentrating the remarks of 
the best authors on the subject." But, in truth, with sevi-ril of th-- 
grammars published previously to his own, Murray appears to have been totally 


unacquainted. The chief, if not the only school grammars which were largely 
copied by him, were Lowth's and Priestley's, though others perhaps may have 
shared the fate of these in being " superseded " by his. It may be seen by 
inspection, that in copying these two authors, the compiler, agreeably to what he 
says above, omitted all riames and references even such as they had scrupulously 
inserted : and, at the outset, assumed to be himself the sole authority for all his 
doctrines and illustrations ; satisfying his own mind with making, some years 
afterwards, that general apology which we are now criticising. For if he so 
mutilated and altered the passages which he adopted, as to make it improper to 
add the names of their authors, upon what other authority than his own do they 
rest ? But if, on the other hand, he generally copied without alteration ; his 
examples are still anonymous, while his first reason for leaving them so, is plainly 
destroyed : because his position is thus far contradicted by the fact. 

11. In his later editions, however, there are two opinions which the compiler 
thought proper to support by regular quotations ; and, now and then, in other 
instances, the name of an author appears. The two positions thus distinguished, 
are these : First, That the noun means is necessarily singular as well a- plural, 
BO that one cannot with propriety use the singular form, mean, to signify that by 
which an end is attained; Second, That the subjunctive mood, to which he himself 
had previously given all the tenses without inflection, is not different in form from 
the indicative, except in the present tense. With regard to the latter point, I have 
shown, in its proper place, that he taught erroneously, both before and after he 
changed his opinion ; and concerning the former, the most that can be proved by 
quotations, is, that both mean and means for the singular number, long have been, 
and still are, in good use, or sanctioned by many elegant writers ; so that either 
form may yet be considered grammatical, though the irregular can claim to be so, 
only when it is used in this particular sense. As to his second reason for the 
suppression of names, to wit, "the uncertainty to whom the passages originally 
belonged," to make the most of it, it is but partial and relative ; and, surely, no 
other grammar ever before so multiplied the difficulty in the eyes of teachers, and 
so widened the field for commonplace authorship, as has the compilation in question. 
The origin of a sentiment or passage may be uncertain to one man, and perfectly 
well known to an other. The embarrassment which a compiler may happen to 
find from this source, is worthy of little sympathy. For he cannot but know from 
what work he is taking any particular sentence or paragraph, and those parts of 
a grammar, which are new to the eye of a great grammarian, may very well be 
credited to him who claims to have written the book. I have thus disposed of 
his second reason for the omission of names and references, in compilations of 

12. There remains one more : "A work of this nature ivould derive no 
advantage from it, equal to the inconvenience of crowding the pages with a 
repetition of names and references." With regard to a small work, in which the 
matter is to be very closely condensed, this argument has considerable force. But 
Murray has in general allowed himself very ample room, especially in his two 
octavoes. In these, and for the most part also in his duodeeimoes, all needful 
references might easily have been added without increasing the size of his volumes, 
or injuring their appearance. In nine cases out of ten, the names would only have 
occupied what is now blank space. It is to be remembered, that these books do 
not differ much, except in quantity of paper. His octavo Grammar is but little 
more than a reprint, in a larger type, of the duodecimo Grammar, together with 
his Exercises and Key. The demand for this expensive publication has been 
comparatively small ; and it is chiefly to the others, that the author owes his 
popularity as a grammarian. As to the advantage which Murray or his work 
might have derived from an adherence on his part to the usual custom of compilers, 
that may be variously estimated. The remarks of the best grammarians, or the 


sentiments of the best authors, are hardly to be thought the more worthy of 
acceptance, for being concentrated in such a manner as to merge their authenticity 
in the fame of the copyist. Let me not be understood to suggest that i\}\< good 
man sought popularity at the expense of others ; for I do not believe that either 
fame or interest was his motive. But the right of authors to the credit of their 
writing, is a delicate point; and, surely, his example would have been worthier of 
imitation, had he left no ground for the foregoing objections, and carefully barred 
the way to any such inference. 

13. But let the first sentence of this apology be now considered. It is hero 
suggested, that because this work is a compilation, even such an acknowledgement 
as the author makes, is " scarcely necessary." This is too much to say. Yet one 
may readily admit, that a compilation, " from the nature and design of it, must 
consist chiefly " nay, wholly " of materials selected from the writings of others." 
But what able grammarian would ever willingly throw himself upon the horns of 
sm-li a dilemma? The nature and design of a book, whatever they may be, are 
matters for which the author alone is answerable ; but the nature and design of 
fjrnintnar, are no less repugnant to the strain of this apology, than to the vast 
number of errors and defects which were overlooked by Murray in his work of 
compilation. It is the express purpose of this practical science, to enable a man 
to write well himself. He that cannot do this, exhibits no excess of modesty when 
he claims to have " done all that could reasonably be expected in a work of this 
nature." L. Murray's Gram. Jntrtxl. p. {). He that sees with other men's eyes, 
i- peculiarly liable to errors and inconsistencies : uniformity is seldom found in 
'work, or accuracy in secondhand literature. Correctness of language is in 
the mind, rather than in the hand or the tongue ; and, in order to secure it, some 
originality of thought is necessary. A delineation from new surveys is not the 
original because the same region has been sketched before ; and how can he 
be the ablest of surveyors, who, through lack of skill or industry, does little more 
than transcribe the field-notes and copy the projections of his predecessors? 

11. This author's oversights are numerous. There is no part of the volume 
more accurate than that which he literally copied from Lowth. To the Short 
Introduction alone, he was indebted for more than a hundred and twenty para- 
graphs; and even in these there are many things obviously erroneous. Many of 
the hot practical notes were taken from Priestley; yet it was he, at whose doctrines 
wen- pointed most of those " positions and discussions." which alone the author 
claims as original. To some of these reasonings, however, his own alterations may 
have given ri>c ; for, where he " persuades himself he is not destitute of originality," 
lit- i< often ariruing against the text of his own earlier editions. Webster's well- 
known complaints of Murray's unfairness, had a far better cause than requital; 
for there was no generosity in ascribing them to peevishness, though the passages 
in question were not worth copying. On perspicuity and accuracy, about sixty 
pages were extracted from Blair ; and it requires no great critical acumen to 
discover, that they are itii-eraldy deficient in both. On the law of language, there 
are tifteen page> from ( 1 ampl>ell ; which, with a few exceptions, are well written. 
The rules for spelling are the -anie as Walker's : the third one, however, is a gross 
blunder : and the fourth, a needless repetition. 

I."). \Vere this a place for minute criticism, blemishes almost innumerable might 
be pointed out. It might easily be shown that almost every rule laid down in the 
book for the olxervance of the learner, was repeatedly violated by the hand of the 
master. Nor is there among all those- who have since abridged or modified the 
work, an abler grammarian than he who compiled it Who will pretend that Flint, 
Alder,. Comly. Jaudon, Kussell, Bacon. Lyon, Miller. Alger, Malthy. Ingersoll, 
Fi>k, <lreenleaf. Merchant. Kirkham, Cooper. K. Gr. Greene, Woodworth, Smith, 
or Frost, has exhibited greater skill? It is curious to observe, how frequently a 
grammatical blunder committed by Murray, or some one of his predecessors, has 


escaped the notice of all these, as well as of many others who have found it easier 
to copy him than to write for themselves. No man professing to have copied and 
improved Murray, can rationally be supposed to have greatly excelled him ; for to 
pretend to have produced an improved copy of a compilation, is to claim a sort 
of authorship, even inferior to his, and utterly unworthy of any man who is able 
to prescribe and elucidate the principles of English grammar. 

16. But Murray's grammatical works, being extolled in the reviews, and made 
common stock in trade, being published, both in England and in America, by 
booksellers of the most extensive correspondence, and highly commended even by 
those who were most interested in the sale of them, have been eminently suc- 
cessful with the public ; and in the opinion of the world, success is the strongest 
proof of merit. Nor has the force of this argument been overlooked by those who 
have written in aid of his popularity. It is the strong point in most of the com- 
mendations which have been bestowed upon Murray as a grammarian. A recent 
eulogist computes, that, " at least five millions of copies of his various school-books 
have been printed ; " particularly commends him for his " candour and liberality 
towards rival authors ; " avers that, " he went on, examining and correcting 
his Grammar, through all its forty editions, till he brought it to a degree of perfec- 
tion which will render it as permanent as the English language itself; " censures 
(and not without reason) the " presumption" of those " superficial critics " who 
have attempted to amend the work, and usurp his honours; and, regarding the 
compiler's confession of his indebtedness to others, but as a mark of " his exem- 
plary diffidence of his own merits," adds, (in very bad English,) "Perhaps there 
never was an author whose success and fame were more unexpected by himself 
than Lindley Murray" The Friend, vol. iii, p. 33 

17. In a New-York edition of Murray's Grammar, printed in 1812, there was 
inserted a " Caution to the Public," by Collins & Co., his American correspond- 
ents and publishers, in which are set forth the unparalleled success and merit of 
the work, " as it came in purity from the pen of the author ; " with an earnest 
remonstrance against the several revised editions which had appeared at Boston, 
Philadelphia, and other places, and against the unwarrantable liberties taken by 
American teachers, in altering the work, under pretence of improving it. In this 
article it is stated, " that the whole of these mutilated editions have been seen 
and examined by Lindley Murray himself, and that they have met with his decided 
disapprobation. Every rational mind," continue these gentlemen, " will agree 
with him, that, ' the rights of living authors, and the interests of science and 
literature, demand the abolition of this ungenerous practice.' ' (See this also in 
Murray's Key, N. Y., 1811 , p. iii.) Here, then, we have the opinion and feeling of 
Murray himself, upon this tender point of right. Here we see the tables turned, 
and other men judging it " scarcely necessary to apologize for the use which they 
have made of their predecessors' labours." 

18. It is really remarkable to find an author and his admirers so much at vari- 
ance, as are Murray and his commenders, in relation to his grammatical author- 
ship ; and yet, under what circumstances could men have stronger desires to avoid 
apparent contradiction ? They, on the one side, claim for him the highest degree 
of merit as a grammarian ; and continue to applaud his works as if nothing more 
could be desired in the study of English grammar a branch of learning which 
some of them are willing emphatically to call " Ms science." He, on the contrary, 
to avert the charge of plagiarism, disclaims almost every thing in which any degree 
of literary merit consists ; supposes it impossible to write an English grammar the 
greater part of which is not a " compilation ; " acknowledges that originality belongs 
to but a small part of his own ; trusts that such a general acknowledgement will 
protect him from all censure ; suppresses the names of other writers, and leaves 
his examples to rest solely on his own authority ; and, " contented with the ^roat 
respectability of his private character and station, is satisfied with being useful 


as an author." The Friend, vol. iii, p. 33. By the high praises bestowed upon 
his works, his own voice is overborne : the trumpet of fame has drowned it. His 
liberal authorship is profitable in trade, and interest has power to swell and prolong 
the strain. 

19. The name and character of Lindley Murray are too venerable to allow us 
to approach even the errors of his grammars, without some recognition of the 
respect due to his personal virtues and benevolent intentions. For the private vir- 
tues of Murray, I entertain as cordial a respect as any other man. Nothing is 
argued against these, even if it be proved that causes independent of true literary 
merit have riven him his great and unexpected fame as a grammarian. It is 
not intended by the introduction of these notices, to impute to him any thing more 
or less than what his own words plainly imply ; except those inaccuracies and de- 
ficiencies which still disgrace his work as a literary performance, and which of 
course he did not discover. He himself knew that he had not brought the book to 
such perfection as has been ascribed to it ; for, by way of apology for his frequent 
alterations, he says, " Works of this nature admit of repeated improvements; and 
are, perhaps, never complete." Necessity has urged this reasoning upon me. 
I am as far from any invidious feeling, or any sordid motive, as was Lindley Mur- 
ray. But it is due to truth, to correct erroneous impressions ; and, in order to 
obtain from some an impartial examination of the following pages, it seemed nee- 
con vince them, it is possible to compose a better grammar than 
Murray's, without being part icularly x indebted to him. If this treatise is not such, 
a gr ..f time has been thrown away upon a useless project; and if it is, 

the achievement is no fit subject for either pride or envy. It differs from his, and 
from all tin; protended amendments of his, as a new map, drawn from actual and 
minute surveys, differs from an old one, compiled chiefly from others still older 
and confessedly still more imperfect. The region and the scope are essentially the 
stine ; the tracing and the colouring are more original ; and (if the reader can 
pardon tl "ion) perhaps more accurate and vivid. 

20. He who makes a new grammar, does nothing for the advancement of 
learning, unless his performance excel all earlier ones designed for the same pur- 
pose ; and nothing for his own honour, unless such excellence result from the ex- 
ercise of his own ingenuity and taste. A good style naturally commends itself to 
every reader even to him who cannot tell why it is worthy of preference. Hence 
there is reason to believe, that the true principles of practical grammar, deduced 
from custom and sanctioned by time, will never be generally superseded by any 
thing which individual caprice may substitute. In the republic of letters, there 
will always be some who can distinguish merit ; and it is impossible that these 
should ever be converted to any whimsical theory of language, which' goes to make 

I void the learning of past ages. There will always be some who can discern the 
difference between originality of style, and innovation in doctrine, between 
a due re<rird to the opinions of others, and an actual usurpation of their text ; 
and it is iuerediMe that these should ever bo satisfied with any mere compilation 
of grammar, or with any such authorship as either confesses or betrays the writer's 
own incompetent-.-. Km- it is not true, that, " an English grammar must necessa- 
rily be," hi any ei>n>ideral>le decree, if at all, "a compilation ;" nay, on such a 
theme, and in " the grammatical part" of the work, all compilation beyond a fair 
use of authorities regularly quoted, or of materials either voluntarily furnished or 
free to all, ii" iably implies not conscious "ability," generously doing 

honour to rival merit nor " exemplary diffidence," modestly veiling its own 
but inadequate skill and inferior talents, bribing the public by the spoils of genius, 
and precedence by such means as not even the purest desire of doing 

good can ju-tify. 

ill . Among the professed copiers of Murray, there is not one to whom the fore- 
remarks do not apply, as forcibly as to him. For no one of them all has 


attempted any thing more honourable to himself, or more beneficial to the public, 
than what their master had before achieved ; nor is there any one, who, with the 
same disinterestedness, has guarded his design from the imputation of a pecuniary 
motive. It is comical to observe what they say in their prefaces. Between praise 
to sustain their choice of a model, and blame to make room for their pretended 
amendments, they are often placed in as awkward a dilemma, as that which was 
contrived when grammar was identified with compilation. I should have much to 
say, were I to show them all in their true light.* Few of them have had such 
success as to be worthy of notice here ; but the names of many will find frequent 
place in my code of false grammar. The one who seems to be now taking the lead 
in fame and revenue, filled with glad wonder at his own popularity, is SAMUEL 
KIRKHAM. Upon this gentleman's performance, I shall therefore bestow a few 
brief observations. If I do not overrate this author's literary importance, a fair 
exhibition of the character of his grammar, may be made an instructive lesson to 
some of our modern literati. The book is a striking sample of a numerous species. 

22. Kirkham's treatise is entitled, " English Grammar in Familiar Lectures, ac- 
companied by a Compendium'' that is, by a folded sheet. Of this work, of which 
I have recently seen copies purporting to be of the " sixty- seventh edition," and 
others again of the " hundred and fifth edition," each published at Baltimore in 
1835, I can give no earlier account, than what may be derived from the " second 
edition, enlarged and much improved," which was published at Harrisburg in 
1825. The preface, which appears to have been written for his frst edition, is 
dated, " Fredericktown, Md., August 22, 1823." In it, there is no recognition of 
any obligation to Murray, or to any other grammarian in particular ; but with the 
modest assumption, that the style of the " best philologists," needed to be retouched, 
the book is presented to the world under the following pretensions : 

" The author of this production has endeavoured to condense all the most important 
subject-matter of the whole science, and present it in so small a compass that the learner 
can become familiarly acquainted with it in a short time. He makes but small preten- 
sions to originality in theoretical matter. Most of the principles laid down, have been 
selected from our best modern philologists. If his work is entitled to any degree of 
merit, it is not on account of a judicious selection of principles and rules, but for the 
easy mode adopted of communicating these to the mind of the learner." Kirkham's 
Grammar, 1825, p. 10. 

23. It will be found on examination, that what this author regarded as " all the 
most important subject-matter of the whole science " of grammar, included nothing 
more than the most common elements of the orthography, etymology, and syntax, of 
the English tongue beyond which his scholarship appears not to have extended. 
Whatsoever relates to derivation, to the sounds of the letters, to prosody, (as 
punctuation, utterance, figures, versification, and poetic diction,) found no place 
in his " comprehensive system of grammar; " nor do his later editions treat any 
of these things amply or well. In short, he treats nothing well ; for he is a bad 
writer. Commencing his career of authorship under circumstances the most for- 
bidding, yet receiving encouragement from commendations bestowed in pity, he 
proceeded, like a man of business, to profit mainly by the chance ; and, without 
ever acquiring either the feelings or the habits of a scholar, soon learned by expe- 
rience that, " It is much better to write than [to] starve." Kirkham's Gram, 
stereotyped, p. 89. It is cruel in any man, to look narrowly into the faults of an 
author who peddles a school-book for bread. The starveling wretch whose de- 
fence and plea are poverty and sickness, demands, and must have, in the name of 
humanity, an immunity from criticism, if not the patronage of the public. Far be 
it from me, to notice any such character, except with kindness and charity. Nor 

* " Grammatici namque auctoritas per se nulla est ; quum ex sola doctissimorum oratorum, historicorum. 
poetarum. et aliorum ideonorum Rcriptorum observatione, constet ortam esse vcram grammaricam. Alulta 
dicrnda forent, si grammatistarum ineptias refellere vellem : sed nulla est gloria prseterire asellos." 
TBRH Pref. Art. Versif. fol. iii, 1517. 


need I be told, that tenderness is due to the "young ;" or that noble results some- 
times follow unhopeful beginnings. These tilings an; understood and duly appre- 
ciated. The gentleman was young once, oven as. b md I, his equal in 

years, was then, in authorship, as young though, it were to be hoped. not quite so 
immature. But, as circumstances alter ca<e<, so rime and c'ian-e alter circumstances. 
Under no circumstances, however, can the artifices of quackery bo thought ex- 
cusable in him who claims to be the very greatest of modern grammarians The 
niche that in the temple of learning belongs to any individual, can lc no other 
than that which his own labours have purchased : here, his own turrit alone must 
be his pedestal. If this critical sketch be uni peachably ///*/. its publication 
requires no further warrant. The correction has been forborne, till the subject of 
it has become rich, and popular, and proud ; proud enough at least to have pub- 
lished his utter contempt for me and all my works. Yet not for this do I judge 
him worthy of notice here, but merely as an apt example of some men's grammatical 
success and fame. The ways and means to these grand results are what I purpose 
now to consider. 

24. The common supposition, that the world is steadily advancing in knowl- 
edge and improvement, would seem to imply, that the man who could plausibly 
boast of being the most successful and most popular grammarian of the nineteenth 
century, cannot but be a scholar of such merit as to deserve some place, if not in the 
general literary history of his age, at least in the particular history of the science 
which he teaches. It will presently be seen that the author of ' ' English Grammar 
in Familiar Lectures," boasts of a degree of success and popularity, which, in this 
age of the world, has no parallel. It is not intended on my part, to dispute any 
of his assertions on these points ; but rather to take it for granted, that in repu- 
tation and revenue he is altoirrther as preeminent as he pretends to be. The char- 
acter of his alleged improvement, however, I shall inspect with the eyes of one 
who means to know the certainty for himself; and, in this item of literary history, 
the reader shall see, in some sort, what profit there is in grammar. Is the common 
lanujua'j;*} of two of the largest and most enlightened nations on earth so little un- 
derstood, and its true irrammar so little known or appreciated, that one of the most 
nnschoUurly and incompetent of all pretenders to grammar can have found means 
to outrival all the grammarians who have preceded him ? Have plagiarism and 
quackery become the only means of success in philology ? Are there now instances 
to which an intelligent critic may point, and say, " This man, or that, though 
he can scarcely write a page of good Kn'_'li-h, has patched up a grammar, by the 
help of Murray's text only, and thereby ma 1" himself rich?" Is there such a 
charm in the name of J/*/m///. and the word /w/wv/w-Hf, that by these two im- 
plements alone, the obscurest of men. or the a'^urdest of teachers, may work his 
> lame ; and then, pen-hance, by contrast of circumstances, grow con- 
ceited and arrogant, from the fortune of the undertaking? Let us see what 
we can find in Kirkhanfs Grammar, which will iro to answer these questions. 
Take first from one j.a^e ..f his M hundred and fifth edition," a few brief 
quotations, as a sample of hi-- thoughts and style : 

a i 


"They, however, who intrmK /7,/W, , /,;;// from the analogy and philosophy of 

a Ian.. ._; the number of those who form thut A///y/w',v, and have 

power t <-nirol it." " Piuvrii-u:. A principle in u'rammar is a, > >n of 

the laniiua^c, sanctioned by u r " A dciinition in grammar is a 

print > Hi u:. A rule desrri >iliar 

construction or rircum-tantial relation ot words, which custom has established for our 
observance." Kirk/tarn's (ii-n,iii>ir, p. 18. 

Now, as " a rule describes a peculiar construction," and " a principle is a pe- 
culiar construction," and " a definition is a principle ;" how, according to this gram- 
marian, do a principle, a definition, and a rule, differ each from the oth-r> 'i From 
the rote here imposed, it is certainly not easier for the learner to conceive of all 


these things distinctly, than it is to understand how a departure from philosophy 
may make a man deservedly " conspicuous." It were easy to multiply examples 
like these, showing the work to be deficient in clearness, the first requisite of style. 

26. The following passages may serve as a specimen of the gentleman's taste, 
and grammatical accuracy ; in one of which, he supposes the neuter verb is to 
express an action, and every honest man to be long since dead ! So it stands in 
all his editions. Did his praisers think so too ? 

" It is correct to say, The man eats, he eats ; but we cannot say, The man dog eats, he 
dog eats. Why not r Because the man is here represented as the possessor, and dog, 
the property, or thing possessed ; and the genius of our language requires, that when 
we add to the 2)ossessor, the thing which he is represented as possessing, the possessor shall 
take a particular form to show ITS case, or relation to the property." Ib. p. 52. 

THE PRESENT TENSE. " This tense is sometimes applied to represent the actions of per- 
sons long since dead; as, 'Seneca reasons and moralizes well; An HONEST MAN is the 
noblest work of God. ' ' Ib. p. 138. 

PARTICIPLES. "The term Participle comes from the Latin word part icipio,* which 
signifies to partake." "Participles are formed by adding to the verb the termination 
ing, ed, or en. Ing signifies the same as the noun being. When postfixed to the noun- 
state of the verb, the compound icord thus formed, expresses a continued state of the 
verbal denotement. It implies that what is meant by the verb, is being continued." Ib. 
p. 78. "All participles are compound in their meaning and office." Ib. p. 79. 

VERBS. "Verbs express, not only the state or manner of being, but, likewise, all the 
different actions and movements of all creatures and things, whether animate or inani- 
mate." Ib. p. 62. "It can be easily shown, that from the noun and verb, all the other 
parts of speech have sprung. Nay, more. They may even be reduced to one. Verbs do 
not, in reality, express actions ; but they are intrinsically the mere NAMES of actions." Ib. 
p. 37. 

PHILOSOPHICAL GRAMMAR. " I have thought proper to intersperse through the 
pages of this work, under the head of Philosophical Notes, 1 an entire system of grammat- 
ical principles as deduced from ichat appears f to me to be the most rational and consistent 
philosophical investigations." Ib. p. 36. "Johnson, and Blair, and Lowth, ivould 
have been laughed at, had they essayed to thrust any thing like our modernized philo- 
sophical grammar down the throats of their coternporaries." Ib. p. 143. 

Is it not a pity, that '* more than one hundred thousand children and youth " 
should be daily poring over language and logic like this ? 

27. For the sake of those who happily remain ignorant of this successful em- 
piricism, it is desirable that the record and exposition of it be made brief. There is 
little danger that it will long survive its author. But the present subjects of it 
are sufficiently numerous to deserve some pity. The following is a sample of the 
gentleman's method of achieving what he both justly and exultingly supposes, 
that Johnson, or Blair, or Lowth, could not have effected. He scoffs at his own 
grave instructions, as if they had been the production of some other impostor. 
Can the fact be credited, that in the following instances, he speaks of what he him- 
self teaches?" of what he seriously pronounces "most rational and consis- 
t en t 2 of what is part and parcel of that philosophy of his, which he declares, 
" will in general be found to accord with the practical theory embraced in the 
body of his work? " See Kirkham's Gram. p. 36. 

" Call this ' philosophical parsing, on reasoning principles, according to the original 
laws of nature and of thought,' and the pill will be swallowed, by pedants and their 
dupes, with the greatest ease imaginable." Kirkham's Gram. p. 144. "For the satis- 
faction of those teachers who prefer it, and for their adoption, too, a modernized philo- 
sophical theory of the moods and tenses is here presented. If it is not quite so conve- 
nient and useful as the old one ,they need not hesitate to adopt it. It has the advantage 
of being new ; and, moreover, it sounds large, and will make the commonalty stare. 
Let it be distinctly understood that you teach [Kirkham's] philosophical grammar, 
founded on reason and common sense,' and you will pass for a very learned man, and 

* The Latin word for participle is participium, which makes participio in the dative or the ablative case ; 
but the Latin word for partake teparticipo, and not "participio." G. BROWN. 

t This sentence is manifestly bad English : either the singular verb " appears " should be made plural, or 
the plural noun "investigations " should be made singular. G. BBOWN. 


make all the good housewives wonder at the rapid inarch of intellect, and the vast im- 
provements of the age." Ib. p. 141. 

28. The pretty promises with which these " Familiar Lectures " abound, are also 
worthy to be noticed here, as being among the peculiar attractions of the perform- 
ance. The following may serve as a specimen : 

" If you prw>cd according to my instructions, you will be sure to acquire a practical 
knowledge of Grammar ma short time." Kirkham's Gram. p. 49. "If you have sufficient 
vou will, in a short time, perfectly understand the nature and office of 
the different parts of speech, their various properties and relations, and the rules of 
syntax that apply to them ; and, in a fete icctks, be able to speak and write accurately." 
Ib. p. 62. " You will please to turn back and read over again the whole Jif . You 

must exercise a little patience." Ib. p. 82. "By studying these lectures with attention, 
)-ou will acquire mor<- firammatical knowledge in three months, than is commonly obtained 
in tim yearn." Ib. p. 82. " I will conduct you so smoothly through the moods and tenses, 
and the conjugation of verbs, that, instead of finding yourself involved in obscurities 
and deep intricacies, you will scarcely find an obstruction to impede your progress." Ib. p. 
133. "The supposed Herculean task of learning to conjugate verbs, will be transformed 
into afeir hours of pleasant pastime." Ib. p. 142. " By examining carefully the conjuga- 
tion of the verb through this mood, you will find it very easy." Ib. p. 147. " By pursu- 
:ie following direction, you can, in a very short time, learn to conjugate any verb." 
Ib. p. 147. " Although this mode of procedure may, at first, appear to be laborious, yet, as 
it is .1 trust you will not hesitate to adopt it. My confidence in your persever- 

. induces me to recommend any course which I know will tend to facilitate your 
progress." Ib. p. 148. 

~'J. The grand boast of this author is, that he has succeeded in " pleasing 
himsolf and the public." He trusts to have " gained the latter point," to so great 
an extent, and with such security of tenure, that henceforth no man can safely 
ion the merit of his performance. Happy mortal I to whom that success 
which is the ground of his pride, is also the glittering agis of his sure defence ! 
To this he points with exultation and self-applause, as if the prosperity of the 
wicked, or the popularity of an imposture, had never yet been heard of in this 
clever world I Upon what merit this success has been founded, my readers may 
judge, when I shall have finished this slight review of his work. Probably no other 
grammar was ever so industriously spread. Such was the author's perseverance in 
his measures to increase the demand for his book, that even the attainment of such 
accuracy as he was capable of, was less a subject of concern. For in an article 
rued " toward off some of the arrows of criticism," an advertisement which, 
from the eleventh to the *' one hundred and fifth edition," has been promising " to 
the p'iblick an nf/n-r <md a better edition," he plainly offers this urgent engage- 
ment, as "an apology for its deftv 

" The author is apprehensive that his work is not yet as accurate and as much simplified 
as it may be. If, however, the disadvantages of lingering under a broken constitution, 
and of being able to devote to this subject only a small portion of his time, snatched from 
the (. fa business life, (active as far as imperfect health permits him to be,) 

are any a; it! defects, he hopes that the candid will set down the a)>ology to his 

credit. Not that he would beg a truce with the gentlemen criticks and reviewers. Any 
compromise with them would betray a want of self-confidence and moral courage, which, 
he would by no means, be willing to avow." Kirkham's Gram. (Adv. of 1829,) p. 7. 

30. Now, to this painful struggle, this active contention between business and the 
vapours, let all credit be given, and all sympathy be added ; but, as an aid to the 

" What ! a book hare no merit, and yet be calle-1 for at the rate of sixty thousand eopiet a year! What a 
land. D rhe [.iiMic tasto '. What an insult to the understanding and dis<-rhiiina'i<>ii of the good 

-<injng, all the Inhabitants of our lan<l inu.->t be fools, 

i, and that man b GOOLD '-;;:. p. 361. 

Well n. ' to be called a slanderer of the public taste," and an insulter of the 

ondentandlilf.' 1 if both the merit of this vaunted book and the wisdom of its purchasers are to 
. author's profit*, or the publishers' account of sales! But, possibly, between 

the Sntrin.-ir merit ami the market value of some books there may be a ditlcn-ncv. l/ord 1!\ run n-< i-ived from 
Murray his bookseller, nearly ten dollars a line for the fourth canto of Childe Harold, or about as much for 
. .is Milton obtained for the whole of Paradise Lost. Id tub the true ratio of the merit of these 
authors, or of the wisdom of the different ages in which thej lived ? 


studies of healthy children, what better is the book, for any forbearance or favour 
that may have been won by this apology ? It is well known, that, till phrenology 
became the common talk, the author's principal business was, to commend his own 
method of teaching grammar, and to turn this publication to profit. This hon- 
ourable industry, aided as himself suggests, by " not much less than one thousand 
written recommendations," is said to have wrought for him, in a very few years, a 
degree of success and fame, at which both the eulogists of Murray and the friends 
of English grammar may hang their heads. As to a " compromise" with any 
critic or reviewer whom he cannot bribe, it is enough to say of that, it is morally 
impossible. Nor was it necessary for such an author to throw the gauntlet, to 
prove himself not lacking in " self-confidence." He can show his " moral cour- 
age" only by daring do right. 

31. In 1829, after his book had gone through ten editions, and the demand 
for it had become so great as "to call forth twenty thousand copies during the 
year," the prudent author, intending to veer his course according to the trade-wind, 
thought it expedient to retract his former acknowledgement to " our best modern 
philologists," and to profess himself a modifier of the Great Compiler's code. 
Where then holds the anchor of his praise? Let the reader say, after weighing 
and comparing his various pretensions : 

" Aware that there is, in the piiblick mind, a strong predilection for the doctrines con- 
tained in Mr. Murray's grammar, he has thought proper, not merely from motives of 
policy, but from choice, to select his principles chiefly from that work ; and, moreover, to 
adopt, as far as consistent with his own views, the language of that eminent philologist. In 
no instance has he varied from him, unless he conceived that, in so doing, some practical 
advantage would be gained. He hopes, therefore, to escape the censure so frequently 
and so justly awarded to those unfortunate innovators who have not scrupled to alter, 
mutilate, and torture the text of that able writer, merely to gratify an itching propen- 
sity to tigure in the world as authors, and gain an ephemeral popularity by arrogating to 
themselves the credit due to another." * Kirkham's Gram., 1829, p. 10. 

32. Now these statements are either true or false ; and I know not on which 
supposition they are most creditable to the writer. Had any Roman grammatist 
thus profited by the name of Varro or Quintilian, he would have been filled with 
constant dread of somewhere meeting the injured author's frowning shade ! Surely, 
among the professed admirers of Murray, no other man, whether innovator or 
copyist, unfortunate or successful, is at all to be compared to this gentleman for 
the audacity with which he has " not scrupled to alter, mutilate, and torture, the 
text of that able writer." Murray simply intended to do good, and good that 
might descend to posterity ; and this just and generous intention goes far to excuse 
even his errors. But Kirkham, speaking of posterity, scruples not to disavow and 
renounce all care for them, or for any thing which a coming age may think of his 
character : saying, 

" My pretensions reach not so far. To the present generation only, I present my claims. 
Should it lend me a listening ear, and grant me its suffrages, the height of my ambition 
will be attained." Advertisement, in his Elocution, p. 346. 

His whole design is, therefore, upon the very face of it, a paltry scheme of 
present income. And, seeing his entered classes of boys and girls must soon have 
done with him, he has doubtless acted wisely, and quite in accordance with his 
own interest, to have made all possible haste in his career. 

33. Being no rival with him in this race, and having no personal quarrel with 

* Kirkham's real opinion of Murray cannot be known from this passage only. How able is that writer who 
is chargeable with the greatest want of taste and discernment ? " In regard to the application of the final 
pause in reading blank verse, nothing can betray a greater want of rhetorical taste, and philosophical acumen, 
than the directions of Mr. Murray."- -Kirkham's Elocution, p. 145. Kirkham is indeed uo judge either of the 
merits, or of the demerits, of Murray's writings ; nor is it probable that this criticism originated with himself: 
But, since it appears in his name, let him have the credit of it, and of representing the compiler whom he 
calls " that able writer " and " that eminent philologist J' as an untasteful dunce, and a teacher of nonsense: 
*' To say that, unless we ' make every line sensible to the ear,' we mar the melody, and suppress the numbers 
of the poet, is all nonsense." Ibid. See Murray's Grammar, on Poetical Pauses," 8vo, p. 260 ; 12mo, 210. 


him on any account, I would, for his sake, fain rejoice at his success, and 
withhold my critiri-ms : 1 -ause he is said to have been liberal with his gains, and 
because he has not, like some others, copied me in stead of Murray. But the 
vindication of a greatly injured and perverted science, constrains me to say, on 
this occasion, that pretensions k>-s consistent with themselves, or less sustained by 
and scholarship, have seldom, if ever, been promulgated in the name of 
grammar. I have, certainly, no intention to say more than is due to the uninformed 
and the misguided. For some who are ungenerous and prejudiced themselves, 
will not be unwilling to think me so ; and even this freedom, backed and guarded 
as it is, by facts and proofs irrefragable, may still be ingeniously ascribed to an ill 
motive. To two thirds of the community, one grammar is just as good as an other; 
hey neither know, nor wish to know, more than may be learned from the 
very worst. An honest expression of sentiment against abuses of a literary nature, 
is little the fashion of these times ; and the good people who purchase books upon 
the recommendations of others, may be slow to believe there is no merit where 
so much has been attributed. But facts may well be credited, in opposition to 
courteous flattery, when there are the author's own words and works to vouch for 
them in the face of day. Though a thousand of our great men may have helped 
a copier's weak copyist to take "some practical advantage" of the world's 
credulity, it is safe to aver, in the face of dignity still greater, that testimonials 
more fallacious have seldom mocked the cause of learning. They did not read 
his book. 

Not withstanding the author's change in his professions, the work is now 

itiully the same as it was at first ; except that its errors and contradictions have 
been greatly multiplied, by the addition of new matter inconsistent with the old. 
He evidently cares not what doctrines he teaches, or whose ; but, as various theories 
are noised abroad, sci/>s upon different opinions, and mixes them together, that 
his In ..lies may contain something to suit all parties. " A System of Philosophical 
Grammar," though but an idle speculation, even in his own account, and doubly 

rd in him, as being flatly contradictory to his main text, has been thought 
worthy of insertion. And what his title-page denominates " A New System of 
Pui " though mostly in the very words of Murray, was next invented to 

supply a deficiency which he at length discovered. To admit these, and some other 
additions, the "comprehensive system of grammar" was gradually extended from 
144 small duodecimo pages, to 228 of the ordinary size. And, in this compass, 
it was finally stereotyped in 1829 ; so that the ninety-four editions published since, 
have nothing new for history. 

35. But the publication of an other work designed for schools, " An Essay on 
Elocution" shows the progress of the author's mind. Nothing can be more 
radically opposite, than are some of the elementary doctrines which this gentleman 

.v teaching; nothing, more strangely inconsistent, than are some of his declara- 
tions and pmtVssir.ns. For instance: "A consonant is a letter that cannot be 
xmndrd without the help of a vowel." A'irMam's Gram. p. 19. 

; n : "A consonant is not only capable of being perfectly sounded without the 

"f a vnwi'l, but, moreover, of forming, like a vowel, a separate syllable." 

' Take a second example. He makes " AP.TKCTIVE 

PRO^ and IfdiiiiHj fif/f. in treating of the pronouns 

r ; defines the term in a manner peculiar to himself; prefers and uses it in 
all his parsinir ; and yet, by the third sentence of the story, the learner is conducted 
to this just conclusion : ' Hem-.-, such a thing as an at/ji'/'ftrc-jn'ttnonn cannot 
exist." G raw mar. p. 1 .">. < )n.-e m-.rc. !"j...n his own rules, or such as he had 
borrowed, he comments thus, and comments truly, because he had either written 
them badly or made an ill choice : "But some of these rules are foolish, trifling, 
and unimportant." Hlnmtlon, p 97. Again : " Rules 10 and 11, rest on a sandy 
foundation. They appear not to be based on the principles of the language." 


Grammar, p. 59. These are but specimens of his own frequent testimony against 
himself! Nor shall he find refuge in the impudent falsehood, that the things 
which I quote as his, are not his own.* These contradictory texts, and scores of 
others which might be added to them, are as rightfully his own, as any doctrine he 
has ever yet inculcated. But, upon the credulity of ignorance, his high-sounding 
certificates and unbounded boasting can impose any thing. They overrule all in 
favour of one of the worst grammars extant; of which he says, "It is now 
studied by more than one hundred thousand children and youth ; and is more ex- 
tensively used than all other English grammars published in the United States." 
Elocution, p. 347. The booksellers say, he receives from his publishers ten cents 
a copy, on this work, and that he reports the sale of sixty thousand copies per 
annum. Such has of late been his public boast. I have once had the story from 
his own lips, and of course congratulated him, though I dislike the book. Six 
thousand dollars a year, on this most miserable modification of Lindley Murray's 
Grammar ! Be it so or double, if he and the public please. Murray had so 
little originality in his work, or so little selfishness in his design, that he would not 
take any thing ; and his may ultimately prove the better bargain. 

36. A man may boast and bless himself as he pleases, his fortune, surely, can 
never be worthy of an other's envy, so long as he finds it inadequate to his own 
great merits, and unworthy of his own poor gratitude. As a grammarian, Kirkham 
claims to be second only to Lindley Murray ; and says, " Since the days of Lowth, 
no other work on grammar, Murray's only excepted, has been so favourably received 
by i\\Qpublick as his own. As a proof of this, he would mention, that within the 
last six years it has passed through fifty editions." Preface to Elocution, p. 12. 
And, at the same time, and in the same preface, he complains, that, " Of all the 
labours done under the sun, the labours of the pen meet with the poorest reward." 
Ibid. p. 5. This too clearly favours the report, that his books were not written by 
himself, but by others whom he hired. Possibly, the anonymous helper may here 
have penned, not his employer's feeling, but a line of his own experience. But I 
choose to ascribe the passage to the professed author, and to hold him answerable 
for the inconsistency. Willing to illustrate by the best and fairest examples these 
fruitful means of grammatical fame, I am glad of his present success, which, through 
this record, shall become yet more famous. It is the only thing which makes him 
worthy of the notice here taken of him. But I cannot sympathize with his com- 
plaint, because he never sought any but " the poorest reward ; " and more than all 
tie sought, he found. In his last "Address to Teachers," he says, "He may 

silver; nor he that loveth abundance, with increase." Let him remember this. f 
He now announces three or four other works as forthcoming shortly. What these 
will achieve, the world will see. But I must confine myself to the Grammar. 

37. In this volume, scarcely any thing is found where it might be expected. 
" The author," as he tells us in his preface, " has not followed the common 
' artificial and unnatural arrangement adopted by most of his predecessors ;' yet he 
has endeavoured to pursue a more judicious one, namely, ' the order of the under- 
standing? " Grammar, p. 12. But if this is the order of his understanding, 
he is greatly to be pitied. A book more confused in its plan, more wanting in 
method, more imperfect in distinctness of parts, more deficient in symmetry, or 

* " Now, in these instances, I should be fair game, were it not for the triflins; difference, that I happen to 
present the doctrines and notions of other writers, and NOT my own, as stated by my learned censor." Kirkham, 
in thf, Knickerbocker, Oct. 1837, p. 360. If the instructions above cited are not his own, there is not, within 
the lids of either book, a penny's worth that is. His fruitfulj copy-rights are void in law : the " learned 
censor's " pledge shall guaranty this issue. Q. B. 183S. 

t I am sorry to observe that the gentleman, Phrenologist, as he professes to be, has so little reverence in his 
crown. He could not read the foregoing suggestion without scoffing at it. Biblical truth is not powerless, 
though the scornful may refuse its correction. Q B. 1838. 


more difficult of reference, shall not easily be found in stereotype. Let the reader 
try to follow us here. Bating twelve pages at the heginning, occupied by the 
title, recommendations, advertisement, contents, preface, hints to teachers, and 
advice to lecturers; and fifty-four at the end, embracing syntax, orthography, 
orthoi ; ]>v. provincialisms, prosody, punctuation, versification, rhetoric, figures of 
speech, and a Key, all in the sequence here given ; the work consi.-ts of fourteen 
chapters of grammar, absurdly called " Familiar Lectures.*' The first treats, of 
sundries, under half a dozen titles, but chiefly of Orthography ; and the last is 
three pages and a half, of the most common remarks, on Derivation. In the 
remaining twelve, the Etymology and Syntax of the ten parts of speech are com- 
mingled ; and an attempt is made, to teach simultaneously all that the author 
judged important in either. Hence he gives us, in a strange congeries, rules, 
remarks, illustrations, false syntax, systematic parsing, exercises in parsing, two 
different orders of notes, three different orders of questions, and a variety of other 
titles merely occasional. All these things, being additional to his main text, are 
to be connected, in the mind of the learner, with the parts of speech successively, 
in some new and inexplicable catenation found only in the arrangement of the 
lectures. The author himself could not see through the chaos. He accordingly 
made his table of contents a mere meagre alphabetical index. Having once 
attempted in vain to explain the order of his instructions, he actually gave the 

ip in despair ! 

38. In length, these pretended lectures vary, from three or four pages, to eight- 
and-thirty. Their subjects run thus : 1. Language, Grammar, Orthography; 2. 
Nouns and Verbs; 3. Articles; 4. Adjectives; 5. Participles; 6. Adverbs; 
7. Prepositions ; 8. Pronouns; 9. Conjunctions; 10. Interjections and Nouns; 

11. 31 Is and Tenses; 12. Irregular Verbs; 13. Auxiliary, Passive, and 

Defective Verbs; 14. Derivation. Which, now, is " more judicious," such con- 
fu>ioii as this, or the arrangement which has been common from time immemorial? 
AY ho that has any respect for the human intellect, or whose powers of mind 
rve any in return, will avouch this jumble to be " the order of the understand- 
ing ? " Are the methods of science to be accounted mere hinderances to instruction ? 
Has grammar really been made easy by this confounding of its parts ? Or are 
we lured by the name, "Familiar Lectures" a term manifestly adopted as a 
mere decoy, and, with respect to the work itself, totally inappropriate V If these 
chapters have ever been actually delivered as a series of lectures, the reader must 
have he. MI employed on some occasions eight or ten times as long as on others ! 
- Dr. Johnson, " have now-a-days got a strange opinion that every 
thing should be taught by lectures. Now, 1 cannot see that lectures can do so 
much '_ r <""l as a private reading of the books from which the lectures are taken. 
I know of nothing that can be best taught by lectures, except where experiments 
bo be shown. You may teach chymistry by lectiuv> you might teach the 
makii:. j by lectures." JSosu-ilfs Life of Johnjon. 

\Yitli singuhir ignorance and untruth, this gentleman claims to have invented 
a better method of analysis than had ever been practised before. Of other 
grammars, his preface rivers, " They have till o/v/'/Wv,/ what the author considers 
a very important object; namely, <r tyttemotick <>i<!<r of parsing." G-nnn- 
mar, p. '.'. And, in his "Hints to Tearhei.-." pi.M'iiting himself as a model, 
and his bunk as a paragon, lie says : " By pursuing this -ystem, he can, with less 
labour, advance a pupil fart JUT in the practical knowledge of this a/istnim- science, 
in two mniithn, than he could in one year, when he taught in the ol</ "'"//" Gram- 
mar, p. ]'2. \Yliat his "old way" was, doe- not apjuar. Doubtless something 
sufficiently bad. And as to his new way, I shall hereafter have occasion to show 
that ihnt is sufficiently bad also. But to this gasconade the simple-minded have 
given credit btcau-e the author showed certificates that teMified to his great suc- 
cess, and called him "amiable and modest ! " But who can look into the book, 


or into the writer's pretensions in regard to his predecessors, and conceive the merit 
which has made him " preeminent by so much odds ? " Was Murray less praise- 
worthy, less amiable, or less modest ? In illustration of my topic, and for the sake 
of literary justice, I have selected that honoured " Compiler " to show the abuses 
of praise ; let the history of this his vaunting modifier cap the climax of vanity. 
In general, his amendments of " that eminent philologist," are not more skillful 
than the following touch upon an eminent dramatist ; and here, it is plain, he has 
mistaken two nouns for adjectives, and converted into bad English a beautiful 
passage, the sentiment of which is worthy of an author's recollection : 

" The evil deed or deeds that men do, lives after them ; 
The good deed or deeds is oft interred with their bones."* 

Kirkham's Grammar, p. 75. 

40. Lord Bacon observes, " Nothing is thought so easy a request to a great per- 
son as his letter ; and yet, if it be not in a good cause, it is so much out of his 
reputation." It is to this mischievous facility of recommendation, this prostituted 
influence of great names, that the inconvenient diversity of school-books, and the 
continued use of bad ones, are in a great measure to be attributed. It belongs to 
those who understand the subjects of which authors profess to treat, to judge fairly 
and fully of their works, and then to let the reasons of their judgement be known. 
For no one will question the fact, that a vast number of the school-books now in 
use are either egregious plagiarisms or productions of no comparative merit. 
And, what is still more surprising and monstrous, presidents, governors, senators, 
and judges ; professors, doctors, clergymen, and lawyers ; a host of titled connois- 
seurs; with incredible facility lend their names, not only to works of inferior 
merit, but to the vilest thefts, and the wildest absurdities, palmed off upon their 
own and the public credulity, under pretence of improvement. The man who thus 
prefixes his letter of recommendation to an ill- written book, publishes, out of mere 
courtesy, a direct impeachment of his own -scholarship or integrity. Yet, how 
often have we seen the honours of a high office, or even of a worthy name, prosti- 
tuted to give a temporary or local currency to a book which it would disgrace any 
man of letters to quote ! With such encouragement, nonsense wrestles for the 
seat of learning, exploded errors are republished as novelties, original writers are 
plundered by dunces, and men that understand nothing well, profess to teach all 
sciences ! 

* Every schoolboy is familiar with the following lines, and rightly understands the words evil " and 
" good " to be nouns, and not adjectives : 

" The evil that men do, lives after them ; 
The good is oft interred with their bones." SHAKSPEARE. 

Julius Cap.sar, Act 3 : Antony's Funeral Oration over Casals Body. 

Kirkham has vehemently censured me for omitting the brackets in which he encloses the words that he 
supposes to be understood in this couplet. But he forgets two important circumstances : First, that I was 
quoting, not the bard, but the grammatist ; Second, that a writer uses brackets, to distinguish his own 
amendments of what hi; quotes, and not those of an other man. Hence the marks which he has used, woul 
have been improper for me. Their insertion does not make his reading of the passage good English, and, 
consequently, does not avert the point of my criticism. 

The foregoing Review of Kirkham's Grammar /was published as an extract from my manuscript, by the 
editors of the Knickerbocker, in their number for June, 1837. Four months afterwards, with friendships 
changed, they gave him the "justice v of appearing in their pages, in a long and virulent article against me 
and my works, representing me, ' with e nphatic force," as " a knave, a liar, and a pedant.' 1 '' The enmity of 
that elusion I forgave : because I boro him no personal ill-will, and was not selfish enough to quarrel for my 
own sake. Its imbecility clearly proved, that in this critique there is nothing with n-iiir.1,. hr could justly find 
fault. Perceiving that no point of this argument could be broken, he chan^<-d tin i;nntnd, and satisfied 
himself with despising, upbraiding, and vilifying the writer. Of what use this was, others may judge. 

This extraordinary grammarian survived the publication of my criticism about ten years ; and, it is 
charitably hoped, died happily : while I have had, for a period somewhat longer, all the benefits which his 
earnest " castigntion r was fit to confer. It is not perceived, that what was written before these events, should 
now be altered or suppressed by reason of them. With his pretended " defence," I shall now concern myself 
no further than simply to deny one remarkable assertion contained in it ; which is this that I, Goold Brown, 
" at the funeral of Aaron Ely," in 1830, ; ' praised, and highly praised, this self-same Grammar, and declared it 
to be ' A GOOD WORK ! ' " Kirkham, in the Knickerbocker, Oct. 1837, p. 362. I treated him always courteously, 
and. on this solemn occasion, walked wi".h him without disputing on grammar ; but, if this statement of hia 
has any reasonable foundation, I know not what it is. G. B. in 1850. 


41. All praise of excellence must needs be comparative, because the thing itself 
is so. To excel in grammar, is but to know better than others wherein grammatical 
excellence consists. Hence there is no fixed point of perfection beyond which 
such learning may not be carried. The limit to improvement is not so nine}) in 
the nature of the subject, as in the powers of the mind, and in the inducements to 
exert them upon a theme so humble and so uninviting. Dr. John>on 
his masterly preface, " that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymolo- 
gy, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient." Who then will suppose, 
in the face of such facts and confessions as have been exhibited, that either in the 
faulty publications of Murray, or among the various modifications of them by other 
hands, we have any such work as deserves to be made a permanent standard of 
instruction in English grammar ? With great sacrifices, both of pleasure and of in- 
terest, I have humbly endeavoured to supply this desideratum ; and it remains for 
other men to determine, and other times to know, what place shall be given to 
these my labours, in the general story of this branch of learning. Intending to 
develop not only the principles but also the history of grammar, I could not but 
speak of its authors. The writer who looks broadly at the past and the present, 
to give sound instruction to the future, must not judge of men by their shadows. 
If the truth, honestly told, diminish the stature of some, it does it merely by 
clearing the sight of the beholder. Real greatness cannot suffer loss by the dissi- 
pating of a vapour. If reputation has been raised upon the mist of ignorance, 
who but the builder shall lament its overthrow ? If the works of grammarians are 
often unurammatieal, whose fault is this but their own? If all grammatical fame 
is little in itself, how can the abatement of what is undeserved of it be much ? If 
the errors of some have long been tolerated, what right of the critic has been lost 
by nonuser? If the interests of Science have been sacrificed to Mammon, what 
rebuke can do injustice to the craft ? Nay, let the broad-axe of the critic hew up 
to the line, till every beam in her temple be smooth and straight. For, " certainly, 
next to commending good writers, the greatest service to learning is, to expose the 
bad, who can only in that way be made of any use to it."* And if, among the 
makers of grammars, the scribblings of some, and the filchings of others, are dis- 
creditable alike to themselves ami to their theme, let the reader consider, how 
great must be the intrinsic worth of that study which still maintains its credit in 
spite of all these abuses ! 



"Tot fallaciis obrutnm, tot .U-nu-rsum, tot adhuc tenehris circumfuRim fturtium bocce 
mihi vi-uni eet, ut i.ihil -atis tuto in hac mati-riu jTjr.-fiiri pops* arbitratun eim, nisi noTa quudaiii arte critica 
" S.CIPIO MAJmus : Cassiod. L'oi/ . xxx. 

1. The origin of things is, for many reasons, a peculiarly interesting point in 
their history. Amon^ tliose who have thought lit to inquire into the prime 
of speech, it has been matter uf dispute, whether we ought to consider it a 
~ift from Heaven, or an ac<|ui>itinn of industry a natural endowment, or an artifi- 
ial invention. Nor is any thing that lias ever yet been said upon it. suflieient to 
the question permanently at rest. That there is in some words, and perhaps in 

* See Notes to Pope's Dunciad, Book II, rer. 140. 


some of every language, a natural connexion between the sounds uttered and the 
things signified, cannot be denied ; yet, on the other hand, there is, in the use of 
words in general, so much to which nature affords no clew or index, that this whole 
process of communicating thought by speech, seems to be artificial. Under an 
other head, I have already cited from Sanctius some opinions of the ancient gram- 
marians and philosophers on this point. With the reasoning of that zealous in- 
structor, the following sentence from Dr. Blair very obviously accords : " To sup- 
pose words invented, or names given to things, in a manner purely arbitrary, with- 
out any ground or reason, is to suppose an effect without a cause. There must 
have always been some motive which led to the assignation of one name rather than 
an other." Rhet., Lect. vi, p. 55. 

2. But, in their endeavours to explain the origin and early progress of language, 
several learned men, among whom is this celebrated lecturer, have needlessly per- 
plexed both themselves and their readers, with sundry questions, assumptions, and 
reasonings, which are manifestly contrary to what has been made known to us on 
the best of all authority. What signifies it* for a man to tell us how nations rude 
and barbarous invented interjections first, f and then nouns, and then verbs, j and 
finally the other parts of speech ; when he himself confesses that he does not know 
whether language " can be considered a human invention at all ; " and when he 
believed, or ought to have believed, that the speech of the first man, though prob- 
ably augmented by those who afterwards used it, was the one language of the earth 
for more than eighteen centuries? The task of inventing a language de novo, 
could surely have fallen upon no man but Adam ; and he, in the garden of Para- 
dise, had doubtless some aids and facilities not common to every wild man of the 

3. The learned Doctor was equally puzzled to conceive, "either how society 
could form itself, previously to language, or how words could rise into a language, 
previously to society formed." Blair's Rhet., L. vi, p. 54. This too was but an 
idle perplexity, though thousands have gravely pored over it since, as a part of the 
study of rhetoric ; for, if neither could be previous to the other, they must have 
sprung up simultaneously. And it is a sort of slander upon our prime ancestor, 
to suggest, that, because he was " the first" he must have been " the rudest " 
of his race ; and that, " consequently, those first rudiments of speech," which 
alone the supposition allows to him or to his family, must have been poor and nar- 
row." Blair's Rhet. p. 54. It is far more reasonable to think, with a later 
author, that, " Adam had an insight into natural things far beyond the acutest 
philosopher, as may be gathered from his giving of names to all creatures, accord- 
ing to their different constitutions." Robinson's Scripture Characters, p. 4. 

4. But Dr. Blair is not alone in the view which he here takes. The same 
thing has been suggested by other learned men. Thus Dr. James P. Wilson, of 
Philadelphia, in an octavo published in 1817, says : " It is difficult to discern how 
communities could have existed without language, and equally so to discover how 
language could have obtained, in a peopled world, prior to society." Wilson 's 
Essay on Gram. p. 1. I know not how so many professed Christians, and some 
of them teachers of religion too, with the Bible in their hands, can reason upon 
this subject as they do. We find them, in their speculations, conspiring to repre- 
sent primeval man, to use their own words, as a " savage, whose ' howl at the ap- 
pearance of danger, and whose exclamations of joy at the sight of his prey, reit- 

* A morlern namesake of the Doctor's, the Tt?r. Da'-iil Blair, has the following conception of the utility of 
thosu speculations : ik To enable children to comprehend the abstract idea that all the words in a language 
consist bin <\f nint /-'"'/.. i* will he f'ni'i 1 useful r,o explain h,>\v xm-n^p. ,'r/V.v, WHO tian'n^ nn langUagi . would 
first invent one. beginning with int."rjecrion< ;md nouns, and proceeding from one part of speech to another, as 
their introduction mu'ln successively be called for by necessity or luxury." Blair's Prart. Gram. Pref. p. vii. 

t *' Interjections, T shewed, or passionate exclamations, were the first elements of speech. - Dr. Hugh 
Blair'* Lectures^ p ~>~. 

J " Tt is certain that the verb was invented before the noun, in all the languages of which a tolerable account 
has been procured, either in ancient or modern times." Dr. Alex. Murray's History of European Languages, 
Vol. I, p. 326. 


ernted, or varied with the change of objects, were probably the origin of language.' 
]><><>tli's An<d>/tic<d ])ictio)i(iry. In the dawn of society, ages may have p- 
away, with little more converse than what those efforts would produce." 6V/>v/Y- 
n< /' t M. ric <>f' Xnd't-r, p. 31. Here (iardim-r quotes Booth with approbation, 
and the latter, like Wilson, may have borrowed his ideas from Blair. Thus are 
we taught by a multitude of guessers, irrave, learned, and on-.cular, that the last 
of the "ten parts of speech was in fact the first: "Jittcrjrcffons are exceedingly 
interesting in one respect. They are, there can be little doubt, the oldest words 
in all languages; and may be considered the elements of speech." Buckets 
6Y"> 'in. p. TS. On this point, however. Dr. Blair seems not to be quite 

consistent with himself: "Those exclamations, therefore, which by grammarians 
an- called ////< uttered in a strong and passionate manner, were, beyond 

(/i m /if, the first elements or beginnings of speech." Rhet., L. vi, p. 55. "The 
natiu's of sensible objects were, in t&kmmMgm, the words most early introduced." 
R/iet., L. xiv, p. 135. " The //*///</. nfm-nsilile objects" says Murray too, " were 
the words most early introduced." Octavo Gram. p. 336. But what says the 

5. Revelation informs us that our first progenitor was not only endowed with 
the faculty of speech, but, as it would appear, actually incited by the Deity to 

r that faculty in giving names to the objects by which he was surrounded. 
' < >ut of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl 
of the air; and brought them unto Adam, to see what he would call them : and 
whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And 
Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of 
the field ; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him." Gen. ii, 19, 20. 
This account of the first naming of the other creatures by man, is apparently a 

:ithesi< in the story of the creation of woman, with which the second chapter 
of ( ' Deludes. But, in the preceding chapter, the Deity is represented 

not only as calling all things into existence by his Word ; but as speaking to the 
first human pair, with reference to their increase in the earth, and to their dominion 
over it. and over all the living creatures formed to inhabit it. So that the order of 
the events cannot be clearly inferred from the order of the narration. The manner 
of this communication to man, may also be a subject of doubt. Whether it was, 
or was not, made by a voice of words, may be questioned. But, surely, that 
Being who, in creating the world and its inhabitants, manifested his own infinite 
wi- ;il power, and godhead, does not lack words, or any other means of 

Yication, if he will use them. And, in the inspired record of his work in the 
'uning, he is certainly represented, not only as naming all things imperatively, 
when he spoke them into being, but as expressly calling the light Day, the 
dan ' '7, the firmament //<</><//. tin- dry land Jl/rth, and the gatherings of 

the mighty waters ,sw/x. Dr. Thomas Ilartwell Home, in commending a work by 
Dr. Klli-. concerning the origin of human wisdom and understanding, says: "It 
sh"\v< satisfactorily, that religion and /</n(/>'ftr/e entered the world by divine 

'.ttitm. without the aid of which, man bad not been a rational or religious 

tare." v ,/,/,/ ,,/*// ,v/-///^/r, vol. i, p. 4. " Plato attributes the primitive 

words of the ./'>.</ fnn;/ifi.f,> n. a .livim- ..riiiin ;" and Dr. Wilson remarks, "The 

transition from silence to speech, implies an rftfirt of the understanding too great for 

man." l-Isaay i>n <>'r<nn. p. 1. Dr. Ucattii- >ays, " Mankind must have spoken in 

all agos. the young constantly learning to speak by imitating those who were older; 

and, if so, our fii>t parents must have reeeived this art, as well as some others, by 

inspiration." M< ,-, p. *1~ . \ Innie Tooke says. "I imagine that it is, in 

.-.<// iv. with the vehicle of our thoughts, as with the vehicle- for our bodies. 

produced both." 1> .,/* /'///-Ay/, vol. ii, p. '20. Again: 

is true, is <m art, and a glorious one; whose influence extends over 

all the others, and in which finally all science whatever must centre : but an art 


springing from necessity, and originally invented by artless men, who did not sit 
down like philosophers to invent it." Ib. vol. i, p. 259. 

6. Milton imagines Adam's first knowledge of speech, to have sprung from the 
hearing of his own voice ; and that voice to have been raised, instinctively, or 
spontaneously, in an animated inquiry concerning his own origin an inquiry in 
which he addresses to unintelligent objects, and inferior creatures, such questions 
as the Deity alone could answer : 

" Myself I then perused, and limb by limb 
Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran 
With supple joints, as lively vigor led : 
But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 
Knew not ; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake ; 
My tongue obeyed, and readily could name 
Whateer I saw. ' Thou Sun,' said I, ' fair light, 
And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, 
Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains ; 
And ye that live and move, fair Creatures ! tell, 
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here ? 
Not of myself; by some great Maker then, 
In goodness and in power preeminent : 
Tell me how I may know him, how adore, 
From whom I have that thus I move and live, 
And feel that I am happier than I know.' ' 

Paradise Lost, Book viii, 1. 267. 

Bat, to the imagination of a poet, a freedom is allowed, which belongs not to 
philosophy. We have not always the means of knowing how far he literally 
believes what he states. 

7. My own opinion is, that language is partly natural and partly artificial. 
And, as the following quotation from the Greek of Amrnonius will serve in some 
degree to illustrate it, I present the passage in English for the consideration of 
those who may prefer ancient to modern speculations: "In the same mariner, 
therefore, as mere motion is from nature, but dancing is something positive ; and 
as wood exists in nature, but a door is something positive ; so is the mere utterance 
of vocal sound founded in nature, but the signification of ideas by nouns or verbs 
is something positive. And hence it is, that, as to the simple power of producing 
vocal sound which is as it were the organ or instrument of the soul's faculties 
of knowledge or volition as to this vocal power, I say, man seems to possess it 
from nature, in like manner as irrational animals ; but as to the power of using 
significantly nouns or verbs, or sentences combining these, (which are not natural 
but positive,) this he possesses by way of peculiar eminence ; because he alone of 
all mortal beings partakes of a soul which can move itself, and operate to the 
production of arts. So that, even in the utterance of sounds, the inventive power 
of the mind is discerned; as the various elegant compositions, both in metre, and 
without metre, abundantly prove." Amman, de Interpr. p. 51.* 

8. Man was made for society ; and from the first period of human existence 
the race were social. Monkish seclusion is manifestly unnatural ; and the wild 
independence of the savage, is properly denominated a state of nature, only in 
contradistinction to that state in which the arts are cultivated. But to civilized 
life, or even to that which is in any degree social, language is absolutely necessary. 
There is therefore no danger that the language of any nation shall fall into disuse, 
till the people by whom it is spoken, shall either adopt some other, or become 

* The Greek of this passage, together with a translation not very different from the foregoing, is given as a 
marginal note, in Harris's Hermes^ Book III, Chap. 3d. 


themselves extinct. When the latter event occurs, as is the case with the ancient 
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the language, if preserved at all from oblivion, becomes 
the more permanent; because the causes which are constantly tending to improve 
TV living language, have ceased to operate upon those which are 
learned <>nlv from ancient books. The inflections which now compose the declen- 
sions and conjugations of the dead languages, and which indeed have ever 
constituted the peculiar characteristics of those forms of speech, must remain 
forever as they are. 

9. When a nation changes its language, as did our forefathers in Britain, 
producing by a gradual amalgamation of materials drawn from various tongues a new 
one differing from all, the first stages of its grammar will of course be chaotic and 
rude. Uniformity springs from the steady application of rules ; and polish is the 
work of taste and refinement. We may easily err by following the example of our 
early writers with more reverence than judgement ; nor is it possible for us to do 

to the grammarians, whether early or late, without a knowledge both of the 
history and of the present state of the science which they profess to teach. I 
therefore think it proper rapidly to glance at many things remote indeed in time, 
yet nearer to my present purpose, and abundantly more worthy of the student's 
consideration, than a thousand matters which are taught for grammar by the 
authors of treatises professedly elementary. 

10. As we have already seen, some have supposed that the formation of the 
first language must have been very slow and gradual. But of this they offer no 
proof, and from the pen of inspiration we seem to have testimony against it. Did 
Adam give names to all the creatures about him, and then allow those names to 
be immediately forgotten? Did not both he and his family continually use his 
original nouns in their social intercourse? and how could they use them, without 
other parts of speech to form them into sentences? Nay, do we not know from 
t!i" I'ihle, that on several occasions our prime ancestor expressed himself like an 
intelligent man, and used all the parts of speech which are now considered 

'/// ? What did he say, when his fit partner, the fairest and loveliest work 
of < li id, was presented to him ? " This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my 
flesh : she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." And 
again : Had he not other words than nouns, when he made answer concerning his 
11 : "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was 
naked ; and I hid myself? " What is it, then, but a groundless assumption, to 
make him and his immediate descendants ignorant savages, and to affirm, with Dr. 
Blair, that " their speech must have been poor and narrow? " It is not possible 
now to ascertain what degree of perfection the oral communication of the first age 
exhibited. But, as languages are now known to improve in proportion to the 
improvement of society in civilization and intelligence, and as we cannot reasonably 
suppose the first inhabitants of the earth to have been savages, it seems, I think, a 
plausible conjecture, that the primeval tongue was at least sufficient for all the 
ordinary intercourse of civilized men, living in the simple manner ascribed to our 
early ancestors in Scripture ; and that, in many instances, human speech subse- 
quently declined tar below its original standard. 

11. At any rate, let it be remembered that the first language spoken on earth, 

r it was. originated in Eden before the fall; that this "one language" 

whirh all men u- until the dispersion, is to be traced, not to the cries of 

hunters, echoed through the wilds and glades where Nimrod planted Babel, 

.11 garden rf (lod's own planting, wherein grew "every tree that 

to the sight and good for food ; " to that paradise into which the Lord 

God put the new-created man, "to dress it and to keep it." It was here that 

Adam and his partner learned to speak, while yet they stood blameless and blessed, 

entire and wanting nothing ; free in the exercise of perfect faculties of body and 

mind, capable of acquiring knowledge through observation and experience, and also 


favoured with immediate communications with their Maker. Yet Adam, having 
nothing which he did not receive, could not originally bring any real knowledge into 
the world with him, any more than men do now : this, in whatever degree attained, 
must be, and must always have been, either an acquisition of reason, or a revelation 
from God. And, according to the understanding of some, even in the beginning, 
" That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that 
which is spiritual." I Cor. xv, 46. That is, the spirit of Christ, the second 
Adam, was bestowed on the first Adam, after his creation, as the life and the light 
of the immortal soul. For, " In Him was life, and the life was the light of men ;" a 
life which our first parents forfeited and lost on the day of their transgression. " It 
was undoubtedly in the light of this pure influence that Adam had such an intuitive 
discerning of the creation, as enabled him to give names to all creatures according 
to their several natures." Phipps on Man, p. 4. A lapse from all this favour, 
into conscious guilt and misery ; a knowledge of good withdrawn, and of evil made 
too sure ; followed the first transgression. Abandoned then in great measure by 
superhuman aid, and left to contend with foes without and foes within, mankind 
became what history and observation prove them to have been ; and henceforth, by 
painful experience, and careful research, and cautious faith, and humble docility, 
must they gather the fruits of knowkdge ; by a vain desire and false conceit of 
which, they had forfeited the tree of life. So runs the story 

" Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit 
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the world, and all our wo, 
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man 
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat." 

12. The analogy of words in the different languages now known, has been 
thought by many to be sufficiently frequent arid clear to suggest the idea of their 
common origin. Their differences are indeed great ; but perhaps not greater, than 
the differences in the several races of men, all of whom, as revelation teaches, 
sprung from one common stock. From the same source we learn, that till the year 
of the world 1844, " The whole world was of one language, and of one speech."-^ 
Gen. xi, 1. At that period, the whole world of mankind consisted only of the 
descendants of the eight souls who had been saved in the ark, and so many of the 
eight as had survived the flood one hundred and eighty-eight years. Then occur- 
red that remarkable intervention of the Deity, in which he was pleased to confound 
their language ; so that they could not understand one an other's speech, and were 
consequently scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. This, however, in the 
opinion of many learned men, does not prove the immediate formation of any new 

13. But, whether new languages were thus immediately formed or not, the 
event, in all probability, laid the foundation for that diversity which subsequently 
obtained among the languages of the different nations which sprung from the 
dispersion ; and hence it may be regarded as the remote cause of the differences 
which now exist. But for the immediate origin of the peculiar characteristical 
differences which distinguish the various languages now known, we are not able 
with much certainty to account. Nor is there even much plausibility in the specu- 
lations of those grammarians who have attempted to explain the order and manner 
in which the declensions, the moods, the tenses, or other leading features of the 
languages, were first introduced. They came into use before they could be gen- 
erally known, and the partial introduction of them could seldom with propriety be 
made a subject of instruction or record, even if there were letters and learning at 
hand to do them this honour. And it is better to be content with ignorance, than 
to form such conjectures as imply any thing that is absurd or impossible. For 


in-tance : Neilson's Theory of the Moods, published in the Classical Journal of 
1819, though it exhibits ingenuity and learning, is liable to this strong objection; 
that it proceeds on the supposition, that the moods of English verbs, and of several 
other derivative tongues, were invented in a certain order by persons, not speaking 
a lannuaire learned chiefly from their fathers, but uttering a new one as necessity 
prompted. But when or where, since the building of Babel, has this ever hap- 
pened '! That no dates are given, or places mentioned, the reader regrets, but he 
cannot marvel. 

14. By what successive changes, our words in general, and especially the minor 
part- 'i, have become what we now find them, and what is their original 

and proper signification according to their derivation, the etymologist may often 
show to our entire satisfaction. Every word must have had its particular origin 
and history ; and he who in such things can explain with certainty what is not 
commonly known, may do some service to science. But even here the utility of 
his curious inquiries may be overrated ; and whenever, for the sake of some favourite 
theory, he ventures into the regions of conjecture, or allows himself to be seduced 
from the path of practical instruction, his errors are obstinate, and his guidance is 
peculiarly deceptive. Men fond of such speculations, and able to support them 
with some show of learning, have done more to unsettle the science of grammar, 
and to divert ingenious teachers from the best methods of instruction, than all 
other visionaries put together. Etymological inquiries are important, and I do not 
mean to censure or discourage them, merely as such ; but the folly of supposing 
that in our language words must needs be of the same class, or part of speech, as 
that to which they may be traced in an other, deserves to be rebuked. The words 
the and an may be articles in English, though obviously traceable to something else 
in Saxon; and a learned man may, in my opinion, be better employed, than in 
contending that if, though, and although, are not conjunctions, but verbs ! 

:uage is either oral or written ; the question of its origin has conse- 
quently two parts. Having suggested what seemed necessary respecting the origin 
tfsprerJi, I now proceed to that of writing. Sheridan says, " We have in use 
two kinds of language, the spoken and the written : the one, the gift of God ; the 
other, the invention of man." Elocution, p. xiv. If this ascription of the two 
things to their sources, were as just as it is clear and emphatical, both parts of our 
question would seem to be resolved. But this great rhetorician either forgot his 
own doctrine, or did not mean what he here says. For he afterwards makes the 
firmer ';ind of language as much a work of art, as any one will suppose the latter 
to have been. In his sixth lecture, he comments on the gift of speech thus : 
" But still we are to observe, that nature did no more than furnish the power and 
means ; she di<l not ///> ///, Ituigimgi-, as in the case of the passions, but left it to 
the indu-try of men, to find out and agree upon such articulate sounds, as they should 
choose t. make tin- symbols of their ideas." Ib. p. 147. He even goes farther, 
and - rtain ftnn-s <>f tin' ><>!,< to be things invented by man : "Accordingly, 

as she did not furnish the trurt/s. which were to lie the symbols of his ideas ; neither 
did B , which were to manifest, and communicate by their own 

virtue, the internal exertions and emotions, of such of his nobler faculties, as chiefly 
distinguish him from the brute species ; but left them also, like words, to the care 
and invention of man." Ibidem. On this branch of the subject, enough has 
dln-ady been ]> 

K'. !Jy most authors, alphabetic writing is not only considered an artificial 
invention, but supposed to have been wholly unknown in the early Hires of the 
world. Its antiquity, however, is great. Of this art, in which the science of 
grammar originated, we an- not able to trace the commencement. Different nations 
have claimed the honour of the invention ; and it. is not decided, among the learned, 
to whom, or to what country, it lu-longs. It probably originated in Egypt. For, 
11 The Egyptians," it is said, " paid divine honours to the Inventor of Letters, 


whom they called TTieuth : and Socrates, when he speaks of him, considers him 
as a god, or a god-like man." British Gram. p. 32. Charles Bucke has it, 
" That the first inventor of letters is supposed to have been Memnon ; who was, 
in consequence, fabled to be the son of Aurora, goddess of the morning." Buckets 
Classical Gram. p. 5. The ancients in general seem to have thought Phoenicia 
the birthplace of Letters : 

" Phoenicians first, if ancient fame be true, 
The sacred mystery of letters knew ; 
They first, by sound, in various lines design'd, 
Express'd the meaning of the thinking mind ; 
The power of words by figures rude conveyed, 
And useful science everlasting made.'* 

Howe's Lucan, B. iii, 1. 334. 

17. Some, however, seem willing to think writing coeval with speech. Thus 
Bicknell, from Martin's Physico-Grammatical Essay: "We are told by Moses, 
that Adam gave names to every living creature ; * but how those names were 
written, or what sort of characters he made use of, is not known to us ; nor indeed 
whether Adam ever made use of a written language at all ; since we find no men- 
tion made of any in the sacred history." Bicknell's Gram. Part ii, p. 5. A 
certain late writer on English grammar, with admirable flippancy, cuts this matter 
short, as follows, satisfying himself with pronouncing all speech to be natural, and 
all writing artificial : " Of how many primary kinds is language? It is of two 
kinds; natural or spoken, and artificial or written." Oliver B. Peirce's Gh-am. 
p. 15. " Natural language is, to a limited extent, (the representation of the 
passions,) common to brutes as well as man ; but artificial language, being tha 
work of invention, is peculiar to man." Idem, p. 16. 

18. The writings delivered to the Israelites by Moses, are more ancient tha:i 
any others now known. In the thirty-first chapter of Exodus, it is said, that God 
"gave unto Moses, upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, 
written with the fnger of God.''' And again, in the thirty-second : " The tables 
were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the 
tables." But these divine testimonies, thus miraculously written, do not appear to 
have been the first writing ; for Moses had been previously commanded to write an 
account of the victory over Amalek, "for a memorial in a book, and rehearse It 
in the ears of Joshua." Exod. xvii, 14. This first battle of the Israelites 
occurred in Rephidim, a place on the east side of the western gulf of the Red Sea, 
at or near Horeb, but before they came to Sinai, upon the top of which, (on the 
fiftieth day after their departure from Egypt,) Moses received the ten command- 
ments of the law. 

19. Some authors, however, among whom is Dr. Adam Clarke, suppose that in 
this instance the order of the events is not to be inferred from the order of the record, 
or that there is room to doubt whether the use of letters was here intended ; and 
that there consequently remains a strong probability, that the sacred Decalogue, which 
God himself delivered to Moses on Sinai, A. M. 2513, B. C. 1491, was " the 
first writing in alphabetical characters ever exhibited to the world." See Clarke's 
Succession of Sacred Literature, vol. i, p. 24. Dr. Scott, in his General Preface 
to the Bible, seems likewise to favour the same opinion. "Indeed," says he, 
" there is some probability in the opinion, that the art of writing was first com- 
municated by revelation, to Moses, in order to perpetuate, with certainty, those 
facts, truths, and laws, which he was employed to deliver to Israel. Learned men 
find no traces of literary, or alphabetical, writing, in the history of the nations, 
till long after the days of Moses ; unless the book of Job may be regarded as 
an exception. The art of expressing almost an infinite variety of sounds, by the 

* t B ho uld be, " to all living creatures ; " for each creature had, probably, but one name. G. BROWK, 


interchanges of a few letters, or marks, seems more like a discovery to man from 
heaven, than a human invention ; and its beneficial effects, and almost absolute 
y, fur the preservation and communication of true religion, favour the 
conjecture." Scott's Preface, p xiv. 

20 Tin- time at which Cadmus, the Phoenician, introduced this art into Greece, 
cannot I.-.- precisely ascertained. There is no reason to believe it was antecedent to 
the time of Moses; some chronologists make it between two and three centuries 
later. Nor is it very probable, that Cadmus invented the sixteen letters of which 
-aid to have made use. His whole story is so wild a fable, that nothing 
certain can be inferred from it. Searching in vain for his stolen sister his sister 
Europa, carried off by Jupiter he found a wife in the daughter of Venus! 
Sowing the teeth of a dragon, which had devoured his companions, he saw them 
spring up to his aid a squadron of armed soldiers! In short, after a series of 
wonderful achievements and bitter misfortunes, loaded with grief and infirm with 
age, he prayed the gods to release him from the burden of such a life ; and, in 
pity from above, both he and his beloved Hermione were changed into serpents ! 
History, however, has made him generous amends, by ascribing to him the inven- 
tion of letters, and accounting him the worthy benefactor to whom the world owes 
all the benefits derived from literature. I would not willingly rob him of this 
honour. But I must confess, there is no feature of the story, which I can conceive 
any countenance to his claim ; except that as the great progenitor of the 
race of authors, his sufferings correspond well with the calamities of which that 
unfortunate generation have always so largely partaken. 

Jl. T i. "iii-fits of this invention, if it may be considered an invention, are 
certainly very great. In oral discourse the graces of elegance are more lively and 
attractive, but well- written books are the grand instructors of mankind, the most 
enduring monuments of human greatness, and the proudest achievements of human 
intellect. " The chief glory of a nation," says Dr. Johnson, "arises from its 
authors." Literature is important, because it is subservient to all objects, even 
those of the very highest concern. Religion and morality, liberty and govern- 
ment, fame and happiness, are alike interested in the cause of letters. It was a 
Faying of Pope Pius the Second, that, " Common men should esteem learning as 
silver, noblemen value it as gold, and princes prize it as jewels." The uses of 
learning arc seen in every thing that is not itself useless.* It cannot be overrated, 
but where it is perverted ; and whenever that occurs, the remedy is to be sought by 
opposing learning to learning, till the truth is manifest, and that which is repre- 
hen>ihl". i- made to appear so. 

2'2. I have said, learning cannot be overrated, but where it is perverted. But 
men may differ in their notions of what learning is ; and, consequently, of what is, 
or is not, a perversion of it. And so far as this point may have reference to 
v. ami the things of God, it would seem that the Spirit of God alone can 
fully shuvv- as it- hearings. If the illumination of the Spirit is necessary to an 
;d ti reception of scriptural truth, is it not by an inference more 
erudite than n-i^malilr. that some trn-at men have presumed to limit to a verbal 
medium the communications of Him who is everywhere his own witness, and who 
still _iiivt- to hi< own holy oracles all their p-i-uli-ir significance and authority? 
Some seem to think th- Almighty has never given to men any notion of himself, 
except bywords. "Man j the celebrated K'lmnnd Burke, "have 

never been at all presented to the senses of any men but by words, as God,f 

nrope owes a principal share of it" enlightened and moml state to the restoration of ! 

the advantages which have accrue*! tn hi-tory. n-li^ri "n, tin- philosophy of the mind, and the pr 

H>fit< which haver. <;r.-ek and Ionian tJisto in short..-' 

-V (111 till' pi"' 

;hron,ih the medium of philology. "--Dr. Miimi 

f " The i I'M <>f (Joil is :\ develoi.Tnenf fr":n within, and a matter of faith, not an induction from without, 
vnd a matUT of proof \Vhcn Chr prim-iplr-s wir|,j;, \\,. rh.-n \? e find 

evidences of its truth everywhere : nature i full of thMii : hut we cannot ftnd them before, simply because we 
oYe no eye to find them with." II. N. iluDBon : Dem. Rev. May, 1845. 


angels, devils, heaven, and hell, all of which have however a great influence over 
the passions." On the Sublime and [the] Beautiful, p. 97. That God can never 
reveal facts or truths except by words, is a position with which I am by no means 
satisfied. Of the great truths of Christianity, Dr. Wayland, in his Elements of 
Moral Science, repeatedly avers, " All these being facts, can never be known, 
except by language, that is, by revelation." First Edition, p. 132. Again : " All 
of them being of the nature of facts, they could be made known to man in no 
other way than by language." Ib. p. 136. But it should be remembered, that 
these same facts were otherwise made known to the prophets; (1. Pet. i, 11;) 
and that which has been done, is not impossible, whether there is reason to expect 
it again or not. So of the Bible, Calvin says, " No man can have the least 
knowledge of true and sound doctrine, without having been a disciple of the Scrip- 
ture." Institutes, B. i, Ch. 6. Had Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, 
then, no such knowledge? And if they had, what Scripture taught them? We 
ought to value the Scriptures too highly to say of them any thing that is unscrip- 
tural. I am, however, very far from supposing there is any other doctrine which 
can be safely substituted for the truths revealed of old, the truths contained in the 
Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments : 

" Left only in those written records pure, 
Though not but by the Spirit understood."* Milton. 



" Quis huic studio literarum, quod profitentur ii, qui grammatici vocantur, penitus se dedidit, quin omnen. 
illarum artium pane infinitam vim et materiam scientiae cogitatione comprehenderit?" CICERO. De Oratore. 
Lib. i, 3. 

1. The peculiar power of language is an other point worthy of particular consid- 
eration. The power of an instrument is virtually the power of him who wields it :; 
and, as language is used in common, by the wise and the foolish, the mighty and 
the impotent, the candid and the crafty, the righteous and the wicked, it may 
perhaps seem to the reader a difficult matter, to speak intelligibly of its peculiar 
power. I mean, by this phrase, its fitness or efficiency to or for the accomplish- 
ment of the purposes for which it is used. As it is the nature of an agent, to be 
the doer of something, so it is the nature of an instrument, to be that with which 
something is effected. To make signs, is to do something, and, like all other 
actions, necessarily implies an agent ; so all signs, being things by means of which 
other things are represented, are obviously the instruments of such representation. 
Words, then, which represent thoughts, are things in themselves; but, as signs, 
they are relative to other things, as being the instruments of their communication 
or preservation. They are relative also to him who utters them, as well as to those 
who may happen to be instructed or deceived by them. " Was it Mirabeau, Mr. 

* So far as mind, soul, or spirit, is a subject of natural science, (under -whatever name,) it may of course be 
known naturally. To say to what extent theology may be considered a natural science, or how much knowl- 
edge of any kind may have been opened to men otherwise than by words, is not now in point. Dr. Campbell 
says, k< Under the general term [physiology] I also comprehend natural theology and psychology, which, in my 
opinion, have been most unnaturally disjoined by philosophers. Spirit, which here comprises only the 
Supreme Being and the human soul, is surely as much included under the notion of natural object as a body 
is, and is knowable to the philosopher purely in the same way, by observation and experience." Philosophy 
of Rhetoric, p. 60. 1 1 is quite unnecessary for the teacher of languages to lead his pupils into any speci 
ou this subject. It is equally foreign to the history of grammar and to the philosophy of rhetoric. 


President, or what other master of the human passions, who has told us that words 
are things V They are indeed things, and things of mighty influence, not only in 
addresses to the passions and high-wrought fouling- of mankind, but in the dis- 
cuv-qnn of legal and political questions also; because a just conclusion is often 
avoided, or a false one readied, l>v the adroit substitution of one phrase or one word 
for an other." Daniel Webster, in Congress, ls:;.'J. 

J To speak, is a moral action, the quality of which depends upon the motive, 
and for which we are strictly accountable. " But I say unto you, that every idle 
word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement ; 
for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be con- 
demn .-d." .Unit, xii, 3G, 37. To listen, or to refuse to listen, is a moral action 
also ; and there is meaning in the injunction, " Take heed what ye hear." Mark, 
iv. '2 4. But why is it, that so much of what is spoken or written, is spoken or 
written in vainY Is language impotent? It is sometimes employed for purposes 
witli respect to which it is utterly so ; and often they that use it, know not how 
insignificant, absurd, or ill-meaning a thing they make of it. What is said, with 
whatever inherent force or dignity, has neither power nor value to him who does 
not understand it ;* and, as Professor Duncan observes, " No word can be to any 
man the sign of an idea, till that idea comes to have a real existence in his mind." 
L'>f/fr, p. (j'2. In instruction, therefore, speech ought not to be regarded as the 
foundation or the essence of knowledge, but as the sign of it ; for knowledge has 
: in in in the power of sensation, or reflection, or consciousness, and not in that 
of IT communicating thought. Dr. Spurzheim was not the first to suggest, 

" It is time to abandon the immense error of supposing that words and precepts are 
sufficient to call internal feelings and intellectual faculties into active exercise." 
ifiins Trt'dfinc on E'lncutloii, p. 94. 

);it to this it may be replied, When God wills, the signs of knowledge are 
knowledge; and words, when he gives the ability to understand them, may, in 
some sense, become " spirit and life." See John, vi, 63. Where competent 
intellectual faculties exist, the intelligible signs of thought do move the mind to 
think ; and to think sometimes with deep feelings too, whether of assent or dissent, 
of admiration or contempt. So wonderful a thing is a rational soul, that it is hard 
to say to what ends the language in which it speaks, may, or may not, be sufficient. 
Let determine. We are often unable to excite in others the sentiments 

which we would : words succeed or fail, as they are received or resisted. But let 
a scornful expression be addressed to a passionate man, will not the words " call 
int.-mal feelings" into action V And how do feelings differ from thoughts ?f 
Hear Dr. James Rush : " The human mind is the place of representation of all the 
of nature which are brought within the scope of the senses. The 
repr called ideas. These ideas are the simple passive pictures of 

things, or [else] they exist with an activity, capable of so affecting the physical 
organ- as to inducr : the continuance of that which produces them, or to 

avoid it. This active or vivid class of ideas comprehends the passions. The 

' '' 'io-,v <h:ill it be known what is spoken ? for 

in the. world, and none of them is 
'he meaning of r'p- vir', I shall be unto him that . , 
that speaketh, shall be a ' 1 r xiv. N, 11. 

: outstrip our knowledge of things. It may. and often 
' 'lit [they] cannot be understood as signs, whilst 
we rvi 

I'M* alreA'lv ariuirr 1. ,-ui'l it n., j.n-vinus ideas have been formed, they are men 

All that p.-vws in the mind of man. may bo reduced 
LS. 1 inc.-in ;ill thoughts which rise, and pass in succes- 
n 1 mind in arranging, combining, and separ.i 

aa well as the effect* produc* i <elf by those ideas ; from the more violent agitation of the 

i operation of the intellect and the fancy. In short, thought 

is the olj.-<-t of the on >Mier. That which serves to express the former. 1 call the 

lanes: i:ui_'iiage of emotions. Wunl- .ire the signs of the one ; tones, of the 

other. U'i'li .IK rhf use of these two sort* of language, it i.- imi>-Mble to communicate through the ear, all 
that passes in the mind of mau. :; Sfuridan'i Art o/Readuig; JSiair'a Lectures, p. 333. 


functions of the mind here described, exist then in different forms and degrees, 
from the simple idea, to the highest energy of passion : and the terms, thought, 
sentiment, emotion, feeling, and passion, are but the verbal signs of these degrees 
and forms. Nor does there appear to be any line of classification, for separating 
thought from passion : since simple thoughts, without changing their nature, do, 
from interest or incitement, often assume the colour of passion." Philosophy 
of the Human Voice, p. 328. 

4. Lord Kames, in the Appendix to his Elements of Criticism, divides the senses 
into external and internal, defining perception to be the act by which through the 
former we know outward objects, and consciousness the act by which through the 
latter we know what is within the mind. An idea, according to his definition, 
(which he says is precise and accurate,) is, " That perception of a real object 
which is raised in the mind by the power of memory." But among the real 
objects from which memory may raise ideas, he includes the workings of the mind 
itself, or whatever we remember of our former passions, emotions, thoughts, or 
designs. Such a definition, he imagines, might have saved Locke, Berkley, and 
their followers, from much vain speculation ; for with the ideal systems of these 
philosophers, or with those of Aristotle and Des Cartes, he by no means coincides. 
This author says, "As ideas are the chief materials employed in reasoning and 
reflecting, it is of consequence that their nature and differences be understood. It 
appears now that ideas may be distinguished into three kinds : first, Ideas derived 
from original perceptions, properly termed ideas of memory ; second, Ideas com- 
municated by language or other signs ; and third, Ideas of imagination. These 
ideas differ from each other in many respects ; but chiefly in respect to their 
proceeding from different causes. The first kind is derived from real existences 
that have been objects of our senses ; language is the cause of the second, or any 
other sign that has the same power with language ; and a man's imagination is to 
himself the cause of the third. It is scarce [ly] necessary to add, that an idea, 
originally of imagination, being conveyed to others by language or any other 
vehicle, becomes in their mind an idea of the second kind ; and again, that an idea 
of this kind, being afterwards recalled to the mind, becomes in that circumstance 
an idea of memory."^, of Or it. Vol. ii, p. 384. 

5. Whether, or how far, language is to the mind itself the instrument of thought, 
is a question of great importance in the philosophy of both. Our literature contains 
occasional assertions bearing upon this point, but I know of no full or able discus- 
sion of it.* Cardell's instructions proceed upon the supposition, that neither the 
reason of men, nor even that of superior intelligences, can ever operate indepen- 
dently of words. "Speech," says he, "is to the mind what action is to animal 
bodies. Its improvement is the improvement of our intellectual nature, and a 
duty to God who gave it." Essay on Language, p. 3. Again : " An attentive 
investigation will show, that there is no way in which the individual mind can, 
within itself, to any extent, combine its ideas, but by the intervention of words. 
Every process of the reasoning powers, beyond the immediate perception of sensible 
objects, depends on the structure of speech; and, in a great degree, according to 
the excellence of this chief instrument of all mental operations, will be the means 
of personal improvement, of the social transmission of thought, and the elevation 
of national character. From this, it may be laid down as a broad principle, that 
no individual can make great advances in intellectual improvement, beyond the 
bounds of a ready-formed language, as the necessary means of his progress." Ib. 
p. 9. These positions might, easily be offset by contrary speculations of minds of 
equal rank ; but I submit them to the reader, with the single suggestion, that the 
author is not remarkable for that sobriety of judgement which gives weight to 

* " Language is the great instrument, by which all the faculties of the mind are brought forward, moulded, 
polished, and exerted." Sheridan's Elocution, p. xiy. 


6. We have seen, among the citations in a former chapter, that Sanctius says, 
" Names are the signs, and as it were the instruments, of things" But what he 
meant by " utstnnncnta rernm" is not very apparent. Dr. Adam says, "The 
principles of grammar may be traced from the progress of the mind in the acquisi- 
tion of language. Children first express their feelings by motions and gestures of 
the body, by cries and tears. This is* the language of nature, and therefore 
universal. It ftly represents^ the quickness of sentiment and thought, which are 

as the impression of light on the eye. Hence we always express 
our stronger feelings by these natural signs. But when we want to make known 
to others the particular conceptions of the mind, we must represent them by parts, 
we must divide and analyze them. We express each part by certain signs, % and 
join these together, according to the order of their relations. Thus words are both 

ml N/'////.V of the division of thought." Preface to Latin Gram. 

7. The utterance of words, or the making of signs of any sort, requires time:|| 
but it is here suggested by Dr. Adam, that sentiment and thought, though suscep- 
tible of being retained or recalled, naturally flash upon the mind with immeasurable 
quickness.^ If so, they must originate in something more spiritual than language. 
The Doctor does not affirm that words are the instruments of thought, but of the 

>n of thought. But it is manifest, that if they effect this, they are not the 
only instruments by means of which the same thing may be done. The deaf and 
dumb, though uninstructed and utterly ignorant of language, can think ; and can, 
by rut) ' their own inventing, manifest a similar division, corresponding to 

tin- individuality of things. And what else can be meant by " the division of 

ht" than our notion of objects, as existing severally, or as being distin- 

i'lo into parts? There can, I think, be no such division respecting that 
which is porfectly pure and indivisible in its essence; and, I would ask, is not 
simple continuity apt to exclude it from our conception of every thing which 
with uniform coherence? Dr. Beattie says, "It appears to me, that, as 
all things are individuals, all thoughts must be so too." Moral Science, Chap, i, 
Sec. 1. If, then, our thoughts are thus divided, and consequently, as this author 
infers, have not in themselves any of that generality which belongs to the signifi- 
cation of common nouns, there is little need of any instrument to divide them 
further : the mind rather needs help, as Cardell suggests, " to combine its ideas."** 
tar as language is a work of art, and not a thing conferred or imposed 

Bfl by nature, there surely can be in it neither division nor union that was 

net first in the intellect for the manifestation of which it was formed. First, with 

to generalization. " The human mind," says Harris, " by an energy as 

* It should be. " Thfxr are.Q. B. t It should be, They fitly represent." Q. B. 

4 to his own ! has but one sign. It should be, 

$ It would bebett, : <}. BROWX. 

-peakers do i :i>l of time ; and generally only two and 

it-a is also coi. from Dr. Campbell : " Whatever regards the 

U h'r ni'r^i's. must In a great 
philosopher baa given it as his 

' that v, by signs as well as speak by them." Ib. p. 284. To reconcile these two position* 

each >t suppose ti -^. or words, is a process infinitely more rapid than 


ITW to similar thinyrs a common name, is certainly no labori- 
l !>< any mil individual by means 

rstanding, and I know not 
must be atten- 
d. that all terms run from a general to a parti 

till he 

Thi- is in lr ondei assertion that man i he had 

"f the natural 
man had b* 

" : :il world, 1" 

natural varieties of th "* * * Th< ied such 

:he signs ; yet it were ab.-urd to suppose that the sign was 
1, till the sense demanded it."-/6. p. 389. 



spontaneous and familiar to its nature, as the seeing of colour is familiar to the 
eye, discerns at once what in many is one, what in things dissimilar and different is 
similar and the same." Hermes, p. 362. Secondly, with respect to division. 
Mechanical separations are limited: "But the mind surmounts all power of 
concretion ; and can place in the simplest manner every attribute by itself ; convex 
without concave ; colour without superficies ; superficies without body ; and body 
without its accidents : as distinctly each one, as though they had never been united. 
And thus it is, that it penetrates into the recesses of all things, not only dividing 
them as wholes, into their more conspicuous parts, but persisting till it even separate 
those elementary principles which, being blended together after a more mysterious 
manner, are united in the minutest part as much as in the mightiest whole."- 
Harris's Hermes, p. 307. 

9. It is remarkable that this philosopher, who had so sublime conceptions of the 
powers of the human mind, and who has displayed such extraordinary acuteness 
in his investigations, has represented the formation of words, or the utterance of 
language, as equalling in speed the progress of our very thoughts ; while, as we 
have seen, an other author, of great name, avers, that thought is " as instantaneous 
as the impression of light on the eye." Philosophy here too evidently nods. In 
showing the advantage of words, as compared with pictures, Harris says, "If we 
consider the ease and speed with which words are formed, an ease which knows 
no trouble or fatigue, and a speed which equals the progress of our very thoughts* 
we may plainly perceive an answer to the question here proposed, Why, in the 
common intercourse of men with men, imitations have been rejected, and symbols 
preferred." Hermes, p. 336. Let us hear a third man, of equal note : " Words 
have been called winged ; and they well deserve that name, when their abbrevia- 
tions are compared with the progress which speech could make without these 
inventions ; but, compared with the rapidity of thought, they have not the smallest 
claim to that title. Philosophers have calculated the difference of velocity between 
sound and light ; but who will attempt to calculate the difference between speech 
and thought ! " Home Tooke's Epea Pteroenta, Vol. i, p. 23. 

10. It is certain, that, in the admirable economy of the creation, natures 
subordinate are made, in a wonderful manner, subservient to the operations of the 
higher ; and that, accordingly, our first ideas are such as are conceived of things 
external and sensible. Hence all men whose intellect appeals only to external 
sense, are "prone to a philosophy which reverses the order of things pertaining to 
the mind, and tends to materialism, if not to atheism. " But " to refer again to 
Harris " the intellectual scheme which never forgets Deity, postpones every thing 
corporeal to the primary mental Cause. It is here it looks for the origin of intel- 
ligible ideas, even of those which exist in human capacities. For though sensible 
objects may be the destined medium to awaken the dormant energies of man's 
understanding, yet are those energies themselves no more contained in sense, than 
the explosion of a cannon, in the spark which gave it fire. In short, all minds that 
are, are similar and congenial ; and so too are their ideas, or intelligible forms. 
Were it otherwise, there could be no intercourse between man and man, or (what 
is more important) between man and Grod." Hermes, p. 393. 

11. A doctrine somewhat like this, is found in the Meditations of the emperor 
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, though apparently repugnant to the polytheism 
commonly admitted by the Stoics, to whom he belonged: " The world, take it 
all together, is but one ; there is but one sort of matter to make it of, one Grod to 
govern it, and one law to guide it. For, run through the whole system of rational 

* Dr. Alexander Murray too, in accounting for the frequent abbreviations of words, seems to suggest the 
possibility of giving them the celerity of thought : " Contraction is a change which results from a propensity 
to make the signs as rapid as the thoughts which they express. Harsh combinations soon suffer contraction. 
Very long words preserve only the principal, that is, the accented part. If a nation accents its words on the 
last syllable, the preceding ones will often be short, and liable to contraction. If it follow a contrary practice, 
the terminations are apt to decay," History of European Languages, Vol. I, p. 172. 


beings, and you will find reason and truth but single and the same. And thus 
beings of the same kind, and endued with the saint- icax-n, are made happy by 
the same exercises .f it." Book vii, Sec. 9. Again: "Let your soul receive 
the J >rit v as your blood does the air ; for the influences of the one are no le^s vital, 
than those of the other. This correspondence is very practicable : for there is an 
ambient omnipresent Spirit, which lies as open and pervious to your mind, as the 
air you breathe, dors to your lungs : but then you must remember to be disposed 
to draw it." Book viii, Sec. 54; Collier's Translation. 

1 Agreeably to these views, except that he makes a distinction between a 
natural and a supernatural idea of God, we find Barclay, the early defender of the 
Quakers, in an argument witli a certain Dutch nobleman, philosophizing thus : 
" If the Scripture then be true, there is in men a supernatural idea of God, which 
altogether differs from this natural idea I say, in all men ; because all men are 
capable of salvation, and consequently of enjoying this divine vision. Now this 
capacity consisteth herein, that they have such a supernatural idea in themselves.* 
For if there were no such idea in them, it were impossible they should so know 
God ; for whatsoever is clearly and distinctly known, is known by its proper idea; 
neither can it otherwise be clearly and distinctly known. For the ideas of all 

are divinely planted in our souls ; for, as the better philosophy teacheth, 
they are not begotten in us by outward objects or outward causes, but only are by 

ntward things excited or stirred up. And this is true, not only in super- 
natural ideas of God and things divine, and in natural ideas of the natural principles 
of human understanding, and conclusions thence deduced by the strength of human 

; but even in the ideas of outward objects, which are perceived by the 
outward senses : as that noble Christian philosopher Boethius hath well observed ; 
tu which also the Cartesian philosophy agreeth." I quote only to show the 
concurrence of others, with Harris's position. Barclay carries on his argument 
with much more of a similar import. See SeweVs History, folio, p. 620. 

13. But the doctrine of ideas existing primarily in God, and being divinely 

1 in our souls, did not originate with Boethius : it may be traced back a 
thousand years from his time, through the philosophy of Proclus, Zeno, Aristotle.f 
Plato. S >crates, Parmenides, and Pythagoras. It is absurd to suppose any 
production or effect to be more excellent than its cause. That which really produces 
motion, cannot itself be inert; and that which actually causes the human mind to 
think anil IVUNHI. cannot iteelf be devoid of intelligence. "For knowledge can 

produce knowledge. "J A doctrine apparently at variance with this, has 
recently been taught, with great confidence, among the professed discoveries of 
Pld-( noloijtj. How much truth there may be in this new " science" as it is called, 
I am not j in-pared to say ; but, a.s sometimes held forth, it seems to me not only 
to chi-h with some of the most important principles of mental philosophy, but to 
make tin; power of thought the resultof that which is in itself inert and unthinking. 

iuii that the primitive faculties of the human understanding have not been 
known in earlier times, it professes to have discovered, in the physical organization 
of the brain, their proper source, or essential condition, and the true index to their 
, number, and retribution. In short, the leading phrenologists, by 
acknowledging no spiritual substance, virtually deny that ancient doctrine, "It is 
not in flesh to think, or bones to reason, " and make the mind either a material 
substance, or a mere mode without substantial being. 

" We cannot form a distinct idea of any moral or intellfrtimf <;""''''/ unless we find some trace of it in 
ourc ;-.. -lap. IT, No 424. 

t " Aristotle tells us that tin- <: transcript of those ideas which are in the mind of the first 

Beinjr. ami that thos ideas whirl. mind of man, are a transcript of the world. To this we may 

words are the trai i,],-a.- vhi-h .-ire in the mind of man, and that writing or printing 


i See this passage it Human Lift-." ;.. 106 a \vork feigned to be a compend of Chinese 

i all\ understood u> , ritten or compiled by Robert DocJiUy, an eminent and 

ingenious bookseller in London. 


14. "The doctrine of immaterial substances" says Dr. Spurzheim, "is not 
sufficiently amenable to the test of observation ; it is founded on belief, and only 
supported by hypothesis." Phrenology, Vol. i, p. 20. But it should be remem- 
bered, that our notion of material substance, is just as much a matter of hypothesis. 
All accidents, whether they be qualities or actions, we necessarily suppose to have 
some support ; and this we call substance, deriving the term from the Latin, or 
hypostasis, if we choose to borrow from the Greek. But what this substance, or 
hypostasis, is, independently of its qualities or actions, we know not. This is 
clearly proved by Locke What do we mean by matter ? and what by mind f 
Matter is that which is solid, extended, divisible, and movable. Mind is that 
which thinks, and wills, and reasons, and worships. Here are qualities in the one 
case ; operations in the other. Here are two definitions as totally distinct as any 
two can be ; and he that sees not in them a difference of substance, sees it no-where : 
to him all natures are one ; and that one, an absurd supposition. 

15. In favour of what is urged by the phrenologists, it may perhaps be admitted, 
as a natural law, that, " If a picture of a visible object be formed upon the retina, 
and the impression be communicated, by the nerves, to the brain, the result will be 
an act of perception." Wayland's Moral Science, p. 4. But it does not follow, 
nor did the writer of this sentence believe, that perception is a mere act or attri- 
bute of the organized matter of the brain. A material object can only occasion in 
our sensible organs a corporeal motion, which has not in it the nature of thought or 
perception ; and upon what principle of causation, shall a man believe, in respect 
to vision, that the thing which he sees, is more properly the cause of the idea con- 
ceived of it, than is the light by which he beholds it, or the mind in which that 
idea is formed? Lord Kames avers, that, "Colour, which appears to the eye as 
spread upon a substance, has no existence but in the mind of the spectator." 
Elements of Criticism, i, 178. And Cicero placed the perception, not only of 
colour, but of taste, of sound, of smell, and of touch, in the mind, rather than in 
the senses. " Illud est album, hoc dulce, canorum illud, hoc bene olens, hoc 
asperuin : animo jam hsec tenemus comprehensa, non sensibus." Ciceronis Acad. 
Lib. ii, 7. Dr. Beattie, however, says : " Colours inhere not in the coloured body, 
but in the light that falls upon it ; * * * and the word colour denotes, an external, 
thing, and never a sensation of the mind." Moral Science, i, 54. Here is some 
difference of opinion ; but however the thing may be, it does not affect my argu- 
ment ; which is, that to perceive or think is an act or attribute of our immaterial 
substance or nature, and not to be supposed the effect either of the objects perceived 
or of our own corporeal organization. 

16. Divine wisdom has established the senses as the avenues through which our 
minds shall receive notices of the forms and qualities of external things ; but the 
sublime conception of the ancients, that those forms and qualities had an abstract 
preexistence in the divine mind, is a common doctrine of many English authors, 
as Milton, Cowper, Akenside, and others. For example : " Now if Ensprim&H 
be the cause of entia a primo, then he hath the Idea of them in him : for he made 
them by counsel, and not by necessity ; for then he should have needed them, and 
they have a parhelion of that wisdom that is in his Idea." Richardsoris Logic, 
p. 16 : Lond. 1657. 

" Then the Great Spirit, whom his works adore, 
Within his own deep essence view'd the forms, 
The forms eternal of created things." AKEXSIDE. 

Pleasures of the Imagination, Book i. 

" And in the school of sacred wisdom taught, 
To read his wonders, in whose thought the world, 
Fair as it is, existed ere it was." COWPEH. 

Task: Winter Morning Walk, p. 150. 


" Thence to behold this new-created world, 
The addition of his empire, how it show'd 
In prospect from his throne, how good, how fair, 
Answering his great idea." MILTON. 

Paradise Lost, Book vii, line 554. 

17. " Original Truth,"* says Harris, " having the most intimate connection 
with the Supreme Intelligence, may be said (as it were) to shine with unchangeable 
splendor, enlightening thoughout the universe every possible subject, by nature 
susceptible of its benign influence. Passions and other obstacles may prevent 
indeed its efficacy, as clouds and vapours may obscure the sun ; but itself neither 
admits diminution, nor change, because the darkness respects only particular 
percipients. Among these therefore we must look for ignorance and error, and 
for that subordination ofintellige nee which is their natural consequence. Par- 
tial views, the imperfections of sense; inattention, idleness, the turbulence of 
passions; education, local sentiments, opinions, and belief; conspire in many 
instances to furnish us with ideas, some too general, some too partial, and (what is 
worse than all this) with many that are erroneous, and contrary to truth. These 
it behoves us to correct as far as possible, by cool suspense and candid examination. 
Thus by a connection perhaps little expected, the cause of Letters, and that of 

'in-, appear to coincide ; it being the business of both, to examine our ideas, 
and to amend them by the standard of nature and of truth." See Hermes, p. 406. 

18. Although it seems plain from our own consciousness, that the mind is an 
active self-moving principle or essence, yet capable of being moved, after its own 
manner, by other causes outward as well as inward ; and although it must be ob- 
vious to reflection, that all its ideas, perceptions, and emotions, are, with respect to 
itself, of a spiritual nature bearing such a relation to the spiritual substance in 

, which alone they appear, as bodily motion is seen to bear to material substances ; 
yet we know, from experience and observation, that they who are acquainted with 
words, are apt to think in words-* that is, mentally to associate their internal con- 
ceptions with the verbal signs which they have learned to use. And though I do 
not conceive the position to be generally true, that words are to the mind itself the 
necessary instruments of thought, yet, in my apprehension, it cannot well be denied, 
that in some of its operations and intellectual reaches, the mind is greatly assisted 
by its o\\n contrivances with respect to language. I refer not now to the com- 
munication of knowledge ; for, of this, language is admitted to be properly the 
instrument. But there seem to be some processes of thought, or calculation, in 
which the mind, by a wonderful artifice in the combination of terms, contrives to 
prevent embarrassment, and help itself forward in its conceptions, when the objects 
before it are in themselves p-rh:ips infinite in number or variety. 

l!. \Ve have an instance of thlB in numeration. No idea is more obvious or 
simple than that of unity, or one. By the continual addition of this, first to itself 
to make two, and then to each higher combination successively, we form a .-cries of 
different numbers, which may go on to infinity. In the consideration of these, the 
mind would not be able to p far without the help of words, and those peculiar- 
ly fitted to the purpose. The understanding; would lose itself in the multiplicity, 
were it not aided by that curiou> concatenation of name>. which has been contrived 
for the several parts of the >ucccion. As far as tu-i-h-i- we make use of simple 
unrelated terms. Thenceforward we apply derivatives and compounds, formed 

* ' Thox- philosopher* whose ill- -< are derived from body and senvition, have & 

hor '/ii/i'.s thii)j_'. ' which 

come.-' and jrw. j t; which ii, re tin 

latf 'hi in ! According 

loth: i hav 

not i : .1 multituil' : -. who 

imi h:il VIT\ dilTiTi'iif : i ruth not as the last, but as tht 
first no r:ill it immutable, eternal, omniprtst nt ; attributes that all indicate something more than 
human." Harris's Hermes, p. 403. 


from these in their regular order, till we arrive at a hundred. This one new word, 
hundred, introduced to prevent confusion, has eight hundred and ninety-nine dis- 
tinct repetitions in connexion with the preceding terms, and thus brings us to a 
thousand. Here the computation begins anew, runs through all the former com- 
binations, and then extends forward, till the word thousand has been used nine 
hundred and ninety-nine thousand times ; and then, for ten hundred thousand, we 
introduce the new word million. With this name we begin again as before, and 
proceed till we have used it a million of times, each combination denoting a number 
clearly distinguished from every other ; and then, in like manner, we begin and 
proceed, with billions, trillions, quadrillions, quintillions, &c., to any extent we 

20. Now can any one suppose that words are not here, in some true sense, the 
instruments of thought, or of the intellectual process thus carried on ? Were all 
these different numbers to be distinguished directly by the mind itself, and denomi- 
nated by terms destitute of this artificial connexion, it may well be doubted whether 
the greatest genius in the world would ever be able to do what any child may now 
effect by this orderly arrangement of words ; that is, to distinguish exactly the 
several stages of this long progression, and see at a glance how far it is from the 
beginning of the series. " The great art of knowledge," says Duncan, '" lies in 
managing with skill the capacity of the intellect, and contriving such helps, as, if 

. they strengthen not its natural powers, may yet expose them to no unnecessary 
fatigue. When ideas become very complex, and by the multiplicity of their parts 
grow too unwieldy to be dealt with in the lump, we must ease the view of the 
mind by taking them to pieces, and setting before it the several portions separately, 
one after an other. By this leisurely survey we are enabled to take in the whole ; 
and if we can draw it into such an orderly combination as will naturally lead the 
attention, step by step, in any succeeding consideration of the same idea, we 
shall have it ever at command, and with a single glance of thought be able to run 
over all its parts." Duncan's Logic, p. 37. Hence we may infer the great 
importance of method in grammar ; the particulars of which, as Quintilian says, 
are infinite.* 

21 . Words are in themselves but audible or visible signs, mere arbitrary symbols, 
used, according to common practice and consent, as significant of our ideas or 
thoughts. f But so well are they fitted to be made at will the medium of mental 
conference, that nothing else can be conceived to equal them for this purpose. 
Yet it does not follow that they who have the greatest knowledge and command of 
words, have all they could desire in this respect. For language is in its own nature 
but an imperfect instrument, and even when tuned with the greatest skill, will often 

* Of the best method of teaching grammar, I shall discourse in an other chapter. That methods radically 
different must lead to different results, is no more than every intelligent person will suppose. The formation 
of just methods of Instruction, or true systems of science, is work for those minds which are capable of the most 
accurate and comprehensive views of the things to be taught. He that is capable of " originating and produc- 
ing " truth, or true " ileus," if any but the Divine Being is so, has surely no need to be trained into such truth 
by any factitious scheme of education. In all that he thus originates, he is himself a No rum Organ on of knowl- 
edge, and cap ible of teaching others, especially those officious men who would help him with their second 
hand authorship, and their paltry catechisms of common-places. I allude here to the fundamental principle 
of w'r -.'>,)ks is called " The Prorhtct-irf Si/stem nf Instruction,'' and to those schemes of grammar 

which are professedly founded on it. We are told that, " The leading principle of this system, is that which its 
name indicates that the child should be regarded not as a mere recipient of the ideas of others, but as an agent 
capabli <>f collecting, mvl oriifin'iti.m,', >m>l. /^ most of the ideas which are necessary for its education, 
when prt sented n-iih the oVjcrl-s or the facts from which they may be derived." Smith's New Gram. Pn'f. p. 5 : 
Amer. Journal of Education, Nfir S net. Vol. I, No. 6, Art. 1. It ought to be enough for any teacher, or for 
any writer, if he finds his readers or his pupils ready recipients of the ideas which he aims to convey. What 
more they know, they can never owe to him, unless they learn it from him against his will : and what they 
happen to lack, of understanding or believing him, may very possibly be more his fault than theirs. 

t Lindley Murray, anonymously "opying somebody, I know not whom, says : <: Words derive their meaning 
from the consent and practice of tho<(> who use f hein. There is no necessary connexion between ?"o/v/.s- ,md 
idens. The association between tin- sign and the tiling signified, is purely arbitrary." Octavo G-rrtm. i, p. 
139. The second assertion here mad<-. is very far from being literally true. However arbitrary may be the 
use or application of words, their connexion with ideas is so necessarv, that they cannot be words without it. 
Signification, as I shall hereafter prove, is a part of the very essence of a word, the most important element 
of its nature. And Murray himself says, " The understanding and language have a strict connexion." Ib. 
i, p. 356. In this, he changes without amendment the words of Blair : " Logic and rhetoric have here, as in 
. many other cases, a strict connexion." Blair's Rhet. p. 120. 


be found inadequate to convey the impression with which the mind may labour. 
Cie<-ro. that i:reat master of eloquence, frequently confessed, or declared, that words 
failed him. Tins, however, may be thought to have been uttered as a mere figure 
h ; and some may say, that the imperfection I speak of, is but an incident 
of the common weakness or ignorance of human nature ; and that if a man always 
knew what to say to an other in order to persuade or confute, to encourage or terrify 
him, lie would always succeed, and no insufficiency of this kind would ever be 
felt or imagined. This also is plausible ; but is the imperfection less, for being 
sometimes traceable to an ulterior source ? Or is it certain that human languages 
u>ed by perfect wisdom, would all be perfectly competent to their common purpose? 
And if some would be found less so than others, may there not be an insufficiency 
in the very nature of them all ? 

li'J. If there is imperfection in any instrument, there is so much the more need 

of care and skill in the use of it. Duncan, in concluding his chapter about words 

s of our ideas, says, " It is apparent, that we are sufficiently provided with 

the means of communicating our thoughts one to another ; and that the mistakes 

uently complained of on this head, are wholly owing to ourselves, in not 

sufficiently defining the terms we use, or perhaps not connecting them with 

clear and determinate ideas." Logic, p. 69. On tjje other hand, we find that some 

of the best and wisest of men confess the inadequacy of language, while they also 

deplore its misuse. But, whatever may be its inherent defects, or its culpable 

it i- still to be honoured as almost the only medium for the communication 

of thought and the diffusion of knowledge. Bishop Butler remarks, in his Analogy 

. ( a most valuable work, though defective in style,) " So likewise the 

is attending the only method by which nature enables and directs us to 

communicate our thoughts to each other, are innumerable. Language is, in its 

suire. inadequate, ambiguous, liable to infinite abuse, even from negligence; 

liable to it from design, that every man can deceive and betray by it." 

Part ii, Chap. 8. Lord Kames, too, seconds this complaint, at least in part : 

*' Lamentable is the imperfection of language, almost in every particular that falls 

not under external sense. I am talking of a matter exceedingly clear in the 

'ion, and yet I find no small difficulty to express it clearly in words." 

Elements of CV/V/V/.s///, i, p. 86. "All writers," says Sheridan, "seem to be 

under the influence of one common delusion, that by the help of words alone, they 

can communicate all that passes in their minds." Lectures on Elocution, p. xi. 

J:J. Addix-n also, in apologizing for Milton's frequent use of old words and 
foreign idi< ; ''I may further add, that Milton's sentiments and ideas were 

so wonderfully sublime, that it would have been impossible for him to have repre- 
sented them in their full strength and beauty, without having recourse to these 
<hir liiinjinHjc smtk under Itim, and was unequal to that 
which furnished him with such glorious conceptions." Spectator, 
l>r. Johnson seems to regard as a mere compliment to 
: for of Milton he says, " The truth is, that both in prose and verse, he 
yle by a ]>cr\ei>e and pedantick principle." But the grandeur 
of his thou f denied by the critic; nor is his language censured without 

qualification. " Whatever be the faults of his diction, he cannot want the praise 
of ro] Md variety : he was master of his language in its full extent ; and 

iious words with such, diligence, that from his book alone the 
Art of English 1 t ]>.- learned." Jbknton'tlAfeofMUton: Lirrs. p. '.*'2. 

J 1 A- \\< r la absta 1 are empty and vain, being in their nature 

whii-h derive all their value from the ideas and feelings which 
'lent that he who would either speak or write well, m 

furnished with something more than a knowledge of sounds and letters. Words 
fitly spoken are indeed both j.i >. beautiful " like* apples of gold in pic- 

tures of silver." But it is not for him whose soul is dark, whose designs are 


selfish, whose affections are dead, or whose thoughts are vain, to say with the son 
of Amram, " My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the 
dew ; as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." 
Deut. xxxii, 2. It is not for him to exhibit the true excellency of speech, because 
he cannot feel its power. It is not for him, whatever be the theme, to convince 
the judgement with deductions of reason, to fire the imagination with glowing 
imagery, or win with graceful words the willing ear of taste. His wisdom shall 
be silence, when men are present ; for the soul of manly language, is the soul that 
thinks and feels as best becomes a man. 



" Non medicares enim tenebrae in sylva, ubi haec captanda : neque eo, quo pervenire volumus semitae tritae : 
neque non in tramitibus quaedam objecta, quae euntem retinere possent." VARRO. De Lingua Latina. Lib. 
iv, p. 4. __.__ 

1. In order that we may set a just value upon the literary labours of those who, 
in former times, gave particular attention to the culture of the English language, and 
that we may the better judge of the credibility of modern pretensions to further 
improvements, it seems necessary that we should know something of the course of 
events through which its acknowledged melioration in earlier days took place. 
For, in this case, the extent of a man's knowledge is the strength of his argument. 
As Bacon quotes Aristotle, " Qui respiciunt ad pauca, de facili pronunciant." He 
that takes a narrow view, easily makes up his mind. But what is any opinion 
worth, if further knowledge of facts can confute it ? 

2. Whatsoever is successively varied, or has such a manner of existence as time 
can affect, must have had both an origin and a progress ; and may have also its 
particular history, if the opportunity for writing it be not neglected. But such is 
the levity of mankind, that things of great moment are often left without memo- 
rial while the hand of Literature is busy to beguile the world with trifles or with 
fictions, with fancies or with lies. The rude and cursory languages of barbarous 
nations, till the genius of Grammar arise to their rescue, are among those transi- 
tory things which unsparing time is ever hurrying away, irrecoverably, to oblivion. 
Tradition knows not what they were ; for of their changes she takes no account. 
Philosophy tells us, they are resolved into the variable, fleeting breath of the suc- 
cessive generations of those by whom they were spoken ; whose kindred fate it 
was, to pass away unnoticed and nameless, lost in the elements from which they 

3. Upon the history of the English language, darkness thickens as we tread 
back the course of time. The subject of our inquiry becomes, at every step, more 
difficult and less worthy. We have now a tract of English literature, both ex- 
tensive and luminous ; and though many modern writers, and no few even of our 
writers on grammar, are comparatively very deficient in style, it is safe to affirm 
that the English language in general has never been written or spoken with more 
propriety and elegance, than it is at the present day. Modern English we read 
with facility ; and that which was good two centuries ago, though considerably anti- 
quated, is still easily understood. The best way, therefore, to gain a practical 
knowledge of the changes which our language has undergone, is, to read some of 


our older authors in retrograde order, till the style employed at times more and 
more remote, becomes in some degree familiar. Pursued in this manner, the 
study will be less difficult, and the labour of the curious inquirer, which may be 
suspended or resumed at pleasure, will be better repaid, than if he proceed in 
the order of history, and attempt at first the Saxon remains. 

4. The value of a language as an object of study, depends chiefly on the 
character of the books which it contains ; and, secondarily, on its connexion with 
others more worthy to be thoroughly known. In this instance, there are several 
circumstances which are calculated soon to discourage research. As our language 
took its rise during the barbarism of the dark ages, the books through which its 
early history must be traced, are not only few and meagre, but, in respect to 
grammar, unsettled and diverse. It is not to be expected that inquiries of this 
kind will ever engage the attention of any very considerable number of persons. 
Over the minds of the reading public, the attractions of novelty hold a much 
greater influence, than any thing that is to be discovered in the dusk of antiquity. 
All old books contain a greater or less number of obsolete words, and antiquated 
modes of expression, which puzzle the reader, and call him too frequently to his 
glossary. And even the most common terms, when they appear in their ancient, 
unsettled orthography, are often so disguised as not to be readily recognized. 

5. These circumstances (the last of which should be a caution to us against 
innovations in spelling) retard the progress of the reader, impose a labour too 
great for the ardour of his curiosity, and soon dispose him to rest satisfied with an 
ignorance, which, being general, is not likely to expose him to censure. For these 

ancient authors are little read ; and the real antiquary is considered a 
man of odd habits, who, by a singular propensity, is led into studies both unfash- 
Me and fruitless a man who ought to have been born in the days of old, that 
he might have spoken the language he is so curious to know, and have appeared in 
the costume of an age better suited to his taste. 

! lut Learning is ever curious to explore the records of time, as well as the 
regions of space ;, and wherever her institutions flourish, she will amass her 
id spread them before her votaries. Difference of languages she easily 

i nes ; but the leaden reign of unlettered Ignorance defies her scrutiny. 

. of one period of the world's history, she ever speaks with horror that " long 
\," during which, like a lone Sibyl, she hid her precious relics in 
solitary cells, and fleeing from degraded Christendom, sought refuge with the 
ea-ti-rn caliphs. " This awful decline of true religion in the world carried with it 
aliim.-t every vestige of civil liberty, of classical literature, and of scientific knowl- 

and it will generally be found in experience that they must all stand or fall 

ir." Hints <>n Toleration, p. 263. In the tenth century, beyond which we 
find nothing that bears much resemblance to the English language as now written, this 
mental darkness appears to have gathered to its deepest obscuration ; and, at that 
period, Kugland was sunk as low in ignorance, superstition, and depravity, as any 
other part of Europe. 

he English language gradually varies as we trace it back, and becomes at 
length identified with the Anglo-Saxon ; that is, with the dialect spoken by the Saxons 
after their settlement in England. These Saxons were a fierce, warlike, unlettered 
iV'nn ili-rmany ; whom the ancient Britons had invited to their assistance 
again>t ilie 1'icts and Scots. Cruel and ignorant, like their Gothic kindred, who 
had but lately overrun the Roman empire, they came, not for the good of others, 
but to accommodate t. . They accordingly sei/ed the country; destroyed 

or en-laved the ancient inhabitants ; or, more probably, drove the remnant of them 
into the mountain.- of Wales. Of Welsh or ancient British words, Charles 
Burke, who says in his grammar that he took great pains to be accurate in his 

"f derivation, enumerates but one hundred and eleven, as now found in our 
language ; and Dr. Johnson, who makes them but ninety-five, argues from their 


paucity, or almost total absence, that the Saxons could not have mingled at all with 
these people, or even have retained them in vassalage. 

8. The ancient languages of France and of the British isles are said to have pro- 
ceeded from an other language yet more ancient, called the Celtic ; so that, from 
one common source, are supposed to have sprung the present Welsh, the present 
Irish, and the present Highland Scotch.* The term Celtic Dr. Webster defines, 
as a noun, "The language of the Celts;" and, as an adjective, " Pertaining to 
the primitive inhabitants of the south and west of Europe, or to the early inhabi- 
tants of Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Britain." What unity, according to this, there 
was, or could have been, in the ancient Celtic tongue, does not appear from 
books, nor is it easy to be conjectured. f Many ancient writers sustain this broad 
application of the term Celtce or Celts ; which, according to Strabo's etymology of 
it, means horsemen, ,and seems to have been almost as general as our word Indians. 
But Caesar informs us that the name was more particularly claimed by the people 
who, in his day, lived in France between the Seine and the Garonne, and who by 
the Romans were called Gatti, or Gauls. 

9. The Celtic tribes are said to have been the descendants of Gomer, the son 
of Japhet. The English historians agree that the first inhabitants of their island 
owed their origin and their language to the Celtce, or Gauls, who settled on the 
opposite shore. Julius Caesar, who invaded Britain about half a century before the 
Christian era, found the inhabitants ignorant of letters, and destitute of any history 
but oral tradition. To this, however, they paid great attention, teaching every 
thing in verse. Some of the Druids, it is said, spent twenty years in learning to 
repeat songs and hymns that were never committed to writing. These ancient 
priests, or diviners, are represented as having great power, and as exercising it in 
some respects beneficially ; but their horrid rites, with human sacrifices, provoked 
the Romans to destroy them. Smollett says, " Tiberius suppressed those human 
sacrifices in Gaul ; and Claudius destroyed the Druids of that country ; but they 
subsisted in Britain till the reign of Nero, when Paulus Suetonius reduced the 
island of Anglesey, which was the place of their retreat, and overwhelmed them 
with such unexpected and sudden destruction, that all their knowledge and tradi- 
tion, conveyed to them in the songs of their predecessors, perished at once." 
Smollett's Hist, of Eng. 4to, B. i, Ch. i, 7. 

10. The Romans considered Britain a province of their empire, for a period 
of about five hundred years ; but the northern part of the island was never 
entirely subdued by them, and not till Anno Domini 78, a hundred and thirty-three 
years after their first invasion of the country, had they completed their conquest of 
England. Letters and arts, so far at least as these are necessary to the purposes 
of war or government, the victors carried with them ; and under their auspices 
some knowledge of Christianity was, at a very early period, introduced into Britain. 
But it seems strange, that after all that is related of their conquests, settlements, 

* " The language which is, at present, spoken throughout Great Britain, is neither the ancient primitive 
speech of the island, nor derived from it; but is altogether of foreign origin. The language of the first 
inhabitants of our island, beyond doubt, was the Celtic, or Gaelic, common to them with Gaul ; from which 
country, it appears, by many circumstances, that Great Britain was peopled. This Celtic tongue, which is 
said to be very expressive and copious, and is, probably, one of the most ancient languages in the world, 
obtained once in most of the western regions of Europe. It was the language of Gaul, of Great Britain, of 
Ireland, and very probably, of Spain also ; till, in the course of those revolutions which by means of the 
conquests, first, of the Romans, and afterwards, of the northern nations, changed the government, 
and, in a manner, the whole face of Europe, this tongue was gradunffy obliterated ; and now subsists only in 
the mountains of Wales, in the Highlands of Scotland, and among the wild Irish. For the Irish, the Welsh, 
and the Erse, are no other than different dialects of the same tongue, the ancient Celtic." Blair's Rhetoric, 
Lect. IX, p. 85. 

t With some writers, the Celtic language is the. Welsh ; as may be seen by the following extract : " By this 
he requires an Impossibility, since much the greater Part of Mankind can by no means spare 10 or 11 Years 
of their Lives in learning those dead Languages, to arrive at a perfect Knowledge of their own. But by this 
Gentleman's way of Arguing, we ought not only to be Masters of Latin and Greek, but of Spanish, Italian, 
High-Dutch. Low-Dutch, French, the Old Sa,xon, Welsh, Runic, Got/nc,and IslamJic; since much the greater 
number of Words of common and general Use are derived from those. Tongues. Nay, by the snme way of Itea- 
sonin^r we may prove, that the Romans and Greeks did not understand their own Tongues, because they were 
not acquainted with the Welsh, or ancient Celtic, there being above 020 radical Greet Words derived from 
the Celtic, and of the Latin a much greater Number." Preface to Brightland's Grammar, p. v. 


cities, fortifications, buildings, seminaries, churches, laws, &c., they should at last 
have left the Britons in so helpless, degraded, and forlorn a condition. They did 
not sow fimotnf them the seeds of any permanent improvement. 

11. The Roman government, being unable to sustain itself at home, withdrew 
its forces finally from Britain in the year 446, leaving the wretched inhabitants 
rage as it found them, and in a situation even less desirable. Deprived 
of their native resources, their ancient independence of spirit, as well as of the 
laws, customs, institutions, and leaders, that had kept them together under their 
old dynasties, and now deserted by their foreign protectors, they were apparently 
left at the mercy of blind fortune, the wretched vicissitudes of which there was 
none to foresee, none to resist. The glory of the Romans now passed away. The 
mighty fabric of their own proud empire crumbled into ruins. Civil liberty gave 
place to barbarism ; Christian truth, to papal superstition ; and the lights of science 
were put out by both. The shades of night gathered over all ; settling and 
condensing, " till almost every point of that wide horizon, over which the Sun of 
id diffused his cheering rays, was enveloped in a darkness more 
awful and more portentous than that which of old descended upon rebellious 
Pharaoh and the callous sons of Ham." Hints on Toleration, p. 810. 

1 '1 The Saxons entered Britain in the year 449. But what was the form of 

f that time, cannot now be known. It was a dialect of the Gothic 

ich is considered the parent of all the northern tongues of Europe, 

some few of Sclavonian origin. The only remaining monument of the 

"pyof the (i os] ids. translated by Ulphilas ; which is pi' 
I railed, from its embellishments, the Sih-er Book. This old work has 
times printed in England. We possess not yet in America all the 
advantage's which may be enjoyed by literary men in the land of our ancestors ; 
t the stores of literature, both ancient and modern, are somewhat more familiar 
han is there supposed; and the art of printing is fast equalizing, to all 
that cultivate learning, the privilege of drinking at its ancient fountains. 

13. It is neither liberal nor just to argue unfavourably of the intellectual or the 
moral condition of any remote age or country, merely from our own ignorance of 

It is true, we can derive from no quarter a favourable opinion of the state of 
.gland after the Saxon invasion, and during the tumultuous and bloody govern- 
: the heptarchy. But I will not darken the picture through design. If 
\\vre done to the few names to (Jildas the wise, the memorialist of his 
country '< sutP -rings and censor of the nation's depravity, who appears a solitary 
star in the night of tin- sixth century to the venerable Bede, the greatest theologian, 
:olar, and only historian of the seventh to Alcuin, the abbot of Canterbury, 
the luminary of the eighth to Alfred the great, the glory of the ninth, great as a 

M in the evening twilight of an age in which 

i not read ; if justice were done to all such, we might find 

sometlv i irk and rugged times, if not to soften the grimness of 

distinctness of feature. 

14. Tn tracing the history of our 1 Dr. Johnson, who does little more 
than give examples, eites as IIH tir- :i of ancient English, a portion of 
kin_' Alfred's pa: in imitation ,,f Uni'-thins. Hut this lan-jungf of Alfred's 
is not Knfrli^h ; but rather, as the learned doctor himself considered it, an example 

11 in its highest state of purity. This dialect was first changed 
by admixture with w< d from the Danish and the Norman; and, still 

being comparatively rude and meagre, afterwards received large accessions from 
in, the 1-Yeiich. the Greek, the Dutch till, by gradual changes, which the 
ologigt may exhibit, the Vn-.'th produced a lai:-_ r u:!g.- bearing a sufficient 

mblance to the pi- to be called Kngli>h at this day. 

1"). The formation of our lan-jurnr' 1 cannot with propriety be dated earlier than 
the thirteenth century. It was then that a free and voluntaVy amalgamation of its 



chief constituent materials took place ; and this was somewhat earlier than we date 
the revival of learning. The English of the thirteenth century is scarcely 
intelligible to the modern reader. Dr. Johnson calls it " a kind of intermediate 
diction, neither Saxon nor English ; " and says, that Sir John Gower, who wrote in 
the latter part of the fourteenth century, was " the first of our authors who can be 
properly said to have written English." Contemporary with Gower, the father of 
English poetry, was the still greater poet, his disciple Chaucer ; who embraced 
many of the tenets of Wickliffe, and imbibed something of the spirit of the 
reformation, which was now begun. 

16. The literary history of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is full of 
interest ; for it is delightful to trace the progress of great and obvious improvement. 
The reformation of religion and the revival of learning were nearly simultaneous. 
Yet individuals may have acted a conspicuous part in the latter, who had little to 
do with the former ; for great learning does not necessarily imply great piety, 
though, as Dr. Johnson observes, " the Christian religion always implies or produces 
a certain degree of civility and learning." Hist. Eng. Lang, before his 4to Diet. 
" The ordinary instructions of the clergy, both philosophical and religious, gradually 
fell into contempt, as the Classics superseded the one, and the Holy Scriptures 
expelled the other. The first of these changes was effected by the early gramma- 
rians of Europe ; and it gave considerable aid to the reformation, though it had 
no immediate connexion with that event. The revival of the English Bible, 
however, completed the work : and though its appearance was late, and its progress 
was retarded in every possible manner, yet its dispersion was at length equally 
rapid, extensive, and effectual." Constable's Miscellany, Vol. xx, p. 75 

17. Peculiar honour is due to those who lead the way in whatever advances 
human happiness. And, surely, our just admiration of the character of the 
reformers must be not a little enhanced, when we consider what they did for 
letters as well as for the church. Learning does not consist in useless jargon, in 
a multitude of mere words, or in acute speculations remote from practice ; else the 
seventeen folios of St. Thomas Aquinas, the angelical doctor of the thirteenth 
century, and the profound disputations of his great rival, Duns Scotus the subtle, 
for which they were revered in their own age, had not gained them the contempt 
of all posterity. From such learning the lucid reasoning of the reformers delivered 
the halls of instruction. The school divinity of the middle ages passed away before 
the presence of that which these men learned from the Bible, as did in a later age 
the Aristotelian philosophy before that which Bacon drew from nature. 

18. Towards the latter part of the fourteenth century, WicklifFe furnished the 
first entire translation of the Bible into English. In like manner did the Germans, 
a hundred and fifty years after, receive it in their tongue from the hands of Luther ; 
who says, that at twenty years of age, he himself had not seen it in any language. 
WicklifFe 's English style is elegant for the age in which he lived, yet very different 
from what is elegant now. This first English translation of the Bible, being made 
about a hundred years before the introduction of printing into England, could not 
have been very extensively circulated. A large specimen of it may be seen in 
Dr. Johnson's History of the English Language. Wickliffe died in 1384. The 
art of printing was invented about 1440, and first introduced into England, in 
1468 ; but the first printed edition of the Bible in English, was executed in 
Germany. It was completed, October 5th, 1535. 

19. "Martin Luther, about the year 1517, first introduced metrical psalmody 
into the service of the church, which not only kept alive the enthusiasm of the 
reformers, but formed a rallying point for his followers. This practice spread in 
all directions ; and it was not long ere six thousand persons were heard singing 
together at St. Paul's Cross in London. Luther was a poet and musician ; but 
the same talent existed not in his followers. Thirty years afterwards, Sternhold 
versified fifty-one of the Psalms ; and in 1562, with the help of Hopkins, he 


completed the Psalter. These poetical effusions were chiefly sung to German 
melodies, which the good taste of Luther supplied : but the Puritans, in a subse- 
quent age. nearly destroyed these germs of melody, assigning as a reason, that 
,1 he so simplified as to suit all persons, and that all may join." 
G<ir>n,n-rx Musir of X"frr, p. 283. 

Jn. " The schools and colleges of England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centu- 

re not governed by a system of education which would render their students 

ninent either as scholars or as gentlemen : tind the monasteries, which were 

linaries, even until the reformation, taught only the corrupt Latin used 

ies. The time however was approaching, when the united efforts 

ihridge, Linacre, Sir John Cheke, Dean Colet, Erasmus, William Lily, 

! Mam, &c., were successful in reviving the Latin tongue in all its purity ; 

and even in exciting a taste for Greek in a nation the clergy of which opposed its 

introduction with the same vehemence which characterized their enmity to a 

reformation in religion. The very learned Erasmus, the first who undertook the 

teaching of the Greek language at Oxford, met with few friends to support him; 

notwithstanding Oxford was the seat of nearly all the learning in England." 

MttceBtmy, Vol. xx, p. 146. 

21. " The priests preached against it, as a very recent invention of the arch- 
enemy ; and confounding in their misguided zeal, the very foundation of their faith, 
with the object of their resentment, they represented the New Testament itself as 
* an ii: lanirerous book,' because it was written in that heretical language. 

; 'ter the accession of Henry VIII., when Erasmus, who had quitted Oxford 
returned under his especial patronage, with the support of several 
'lolars and powerful persons, hia progress was still impeded, and the 
1. The University was divided into parties, called Greeks and 
latter being the strongest, from being favoured by the monks ; and 
"ks were driven from the streets, with hisses and other expressions of 
It was not therefore until Henry VIII and cardinal Wolsey gave it 
eir positive and powerful protection, that this persecuted language was allowed 
idly studied, even in the institutions dedicated to learning." Ib. p. 147. 
curious extracts are adduced to show the spirit of the times, and 
then to be surmounted in the cause of learning. This popular 
k, did not spring from a patriotic design to prefer and encourage 
literature ; for the improvement of this was still later, and the great 
'' it were all of them classical scholars. They wrote in English, not 
rhey preferred it, but because none but those who were bred in colleges, 
ml'l read any thing else ; and, even to this very day, the grammatical study of 
i< shamefully neglected in what are called the higher insti- 
M'^. In alleging this neglect, I speak comparatively. Every 
'ii cut. Ting upon the practical business of life, will find it of far more 
H-e to him, to be skillful in the language of his own country than to be 
for any knowledge which the learned only can appreciate. " Will 
k and Latin, or [the] translating [of] these 
i f o Knirli-h. avail for the Purpose of acquiring an elegant English 
we know just the Reverse from woeful Kxperionce ! And, as Mr. 
. Men who have threshed hard at Greek and 

t-n or eleven yea; r. are very often deficient in their own Luii- 

P <>n. 8vo, 1784, p. xxi. 

That the progress of English literature in early times was slow, will not 
>in wonderful to those who consider what is affirmed of the progress of other arts, 
: mediately connected with the comforts of life. " Down to the reiini of 
!i, the greater part of the hon^c^ in considerable towns, had no chimneys: 
kindl'-l against, the wall, and the smoke found its way out as well as it 
could, by the roof, the door, or the windows. The houses were mostly built of 


wattling, plastered over with clay ; and the beds were only straw pallets, with a 
log of wood for a pillow. In this respect, even the king fared no better than his 
subjects ; for, in Henry the Eighth's time, we h'nd directions, ' to examine every 
night the straw of the king's bed, that no daggers might be concealed therein.' 
A writer in 1577, speaking of the progress of luxury, mentions three things 
especially, that were * marvellously altered for the worse in England ; ' the multi- 
tude of chimneys lately erected, the increase of lodgings, and the exchange of 
treen platters into 'pewter, and wooden spoons into silver and tin ; and he complains 
bitterly that oak instead of willow was employed in the building of houses." 
REV. ROYAL BOBBINS : Outlines of History, p. 377. 

24. Shakspeare appeared in the reign of Elizabeth ; outlived her thirteen years ; 
and died in 1616, aged 52. The English language in his hands did not lack 
power or compass of expression. His writings are now more extensively read, than 
any others of that age ; nor has any very considerable part of his phraseology yet 
become obsolete. But it ought to be known, that the printers or editors of the 
editions which are now read, have taken extensive liberty in modernizing his 
orthography, as well as that of other old authors still popular. How far such 
liberty is justifiable, it is difficult to say. Modern readers doubtless find a conve- 
nience in it. It is very desirable that the orthography of our language should be 
made uniform, and remain permanent. Great alterations cannot be suddenly 
introduced ; and there is, in stability, an advantage which will counterbalance that 
of a slow approximation to regularity. Analogy may sometimes decide the form of 
variable words, but the concurrent usage of the learned must ever be respected, in 
this, as in every other part of grammar. 

25. Among the earliest of the English grammarians, was Ben Jonson, tho 
poet ; who died in the year 1637, at the age of sixty-three. His grammar, (which 
Home Tooke mistakingly calls " the first as well as the best English grammar,") 
is still extant, being published in the several editions of his works. It is a small 
treatise, and worthy of attention only as a matter of curiosity. It is written in 
prose, and designed chiefly for the aid of foreigners. Grammar is an unpoetical 
subject, and therefore not wisely treated, as it once very generally was, in verse. 
But every poet should be familiar with the art, because the formal principles of 
his own have always been considered as embraced in it. To its poets, too, every 
language must needs be particularly indebted ; because their compositions, being 
in general more highly finished than works in prose, are supposed to present tho 
language in its most agreeable form. In the preface to the Poems of Edmund 
Waller, published in 1690, the editor ventures to say, "He was, indeed, tho 
Parent of English Verse, and the first that shewed us our Tongue had Beauty and 
Numbers in it. Our Language owes more to Him, than the French does to 
Cardinal Richelieu and the whole Academy. * * * * The Tongue came into His 
hands a rough diamond : he polished it first ; and to that degree, that all artists 
since him have admired the workmanship, without pretending to mend it." 
British Poets, Vol. ii, 1800 : Waller's Poems, p. 4. 

26. Dr. Johnson however, in his Lives of the Poets, abates this praise, that he 
may transfer the greater part of it to Dryden and Pope. He admits that, " After 
about half a century of forced thoughts and rugged metre, some advances towards 
nature and harmony had been already made by Waller and Denham ;" but, in 
distributing the praise of this improvement, he adds, " It may be doubted whether 
Waller and Denham could have over-born [overborne'} the prejudices which had 
long prevailed, and which even then were sheltered by the protection of Cowley. 
The new versification, as it was called, may be considered as owing its establishment 
to Dryden ; from whose time it is apparent that English poetry has had no tenden- 
cy to relapse to its former savageness." Johnson '$ Life of Dryden: Lives, p. 
206. To Pope, as the translator of Homer, he gives this praise : " His version 
may be said to have tuned the English tongue ; for since its appearance no writer, 


however deficient in other powers, has wanted melody." Life of Pope : Lives, 
p. 507. Such was the opinion of Johnson ; but there are other critics who object 
to the versification of Pope, that it is " monotonous and cloying." See, in Leigh 
Hunt's Feast of the Poets, the following couplet, and a note upon it : 

" But ever since Pope spoiFd the ears of the town 
With his cuckoo-song verses half up and half down." 

27. The unfortunate Charles I, as well as his father James I, was a lover and 
promoter of letters. lie was himself a good scholar, and wrote well in English, 
for his time : he ascended the throne in 1G25, and was beheaded in 1G4S. Nor 
was Cromwell himself, with all his religious and military enthusiasm, wholly 

ile to literary merit. This century was distinguished by the writings of 

Milton, Dryden, Waller, Cowley, Denham, Locke, and others; and the reign of 

Charles II, which is embraced in it, has been considered by some " the Augustan 

age of English literature." But that honour, if it may well be bestowed on any, 

belongs rather to a later period. The best works produced in the eighteenth 

century, are so generally known and so highly esteemed, that it would be lavish of 

the narrow space allowed to this introduction, to speak particularly of their merits. 

jrammatieal errors may be found in almost all books ; but our language was, 

nil, written with great purity and propriety by Addison, Swift, Pope, 

Johnson, Luwth, Hume, Home, and many other celebrated authors who flourished 

iry. Nor was it much before this period, that the British writers 

took any great pains to be accurate in the use of their own language : 

" Late, very late, correctness grew our care, 
When the tir'd nation breath'd from civil war." Pope. 

28. English books began to be printed in the early part of the sixteenth century ; 
and, as soon as a taste for reading was formed, the press threw open the flood-gates 
of general knowledge, the streams of which are now pouring forth, in a copious, 
increasing, but too often turbid tide, upon all the civilized nations of the earth. 
This mighty engine afforded a means by which superior minds could act more 
.'tliricntly and more extensively upon society in general. And thus, by the 

genius adorned with learning, our native tongue has been made the 
>li>hed vehicle of the most interesting truths, and of the most important discov- 
aini has Uvoiiie a language copious, strong, refined, and capable of no 
lerablo degree of harmony. Nay, it is esteemed by some who claim to be 
competent judges, to l>e t'n at, the richest, the most elegant, and the most 

:ible of sublime imagery, of all the languages in the world. 



M Quot enlm verba, et nonnunquam in deterius, hoc, quo yivimus, wrculo, partim aliqua, partim nulM 
eeeaaitate cogcuto, mutata suut ?" ROB. AINSWORTH : Lat. Diet. 4*o, Pref. p. zi. 

1. In the use of language, every one chooses his words from that common stock 
which he has learned, and applies them in practice according to his own hah' 
notions. If the style of different writers of th< _'<j is various, much greater 

is the variety which appears in the productions of different ages. Hence the date 


of a book may often be very plausibly conjectured from the peculiarities of its style. 
As to what is best in itself, or best adapted to the subject in hand, every writer 
must endeavour to become his own judge. He who, in any sort of composition, 
would write with a master's hand, must first apply himself to books with a scholar's 
diligence. He must think it worth his while to inform himself, that he may be 
critical. Desiring to give the student all the advantage, entertainment, and 
satisfaction, that can be expected from a work of this kind, I shall subjoin a few 
brief specimens in illustration of what has been said in the foregoing chapter. The 
order of time will be followed inversely ; and, as Saxon characters are not very 
easily obtained, or very apt to be read, the Koman letters will be employed for the 
few examples to which the others would be more appropriate. But there are some 
peculiarities of ancient usage in English, which, for the information of the young 
reader, it is proper in the first place to explain. 

2. With respect to the letters, there are several changes to be mentioned. (1.) 
The pages of old books are often crowded with capitals : it was at one time the 
custom to distinguish all nouns, and frequently verbs, or any other important 
words, by heading them with a great letter. (2.) The letter Ess, of the lower case, 
had till lately two forms, the long and the short, as f and s ; the former very 
nearly resembling the small f, and the latter, its own capital. The short s was 
used at the end of words, and the long/, in other places ; but the latter is now 
laid aside, in favour of the more distinctive form. (3.) The letters /and /were 
formerly considered as one and the same. Hence we find hallelujah for halleluiah, 
lolin for John, iudgement for judgement, &c. And in many dictionaries, the 
words beginning with /are still mixed with those which begin with /. (4.) The 
letters 7 and Fwere mixed in like manner, and for the same reason; the latter 
being a consonant power given to the former, and at length distinguished from it 
by a different form. Or rather, the figure of the capital seems to have been at 
last appropriated to the one, and that of the small letter to the other. But in old 
books the forms of these two letters are continually confounded or transposed. 
Hence it is, that our Double-u is composed of two Vees ; which, as we see in old 
books, were sometimes printed separately ; as, VV or vv. 

3. The orthography of our language, rude and unsettled as it still is in many 
respects, was formerly much more variable and diverse. In books a hundred years 
old or more, we often find the most common words spelled variously by the same 
writer, and even upon the very same page. With respect to the forms of words, 
a few particulars may here be noticed : (1.) The article an, from which the n was 
dropped before words beginning with a consonant sound, is often found in old books 
where a would be more proper ; as, an heart, an help, an hill, an one, an use. 
(2.) Till the seventeenth century, the possessive case was written without the 
apostrophe ; being formed at different times, in es, is, ys, or s, like the plural ; and 
apparently without rule or uniformity in respect to the doubling of the final conso- 
nant : as Goddes, Godes, Godis, Godys, or Gods, for God's ; so mannes, mannis, 
mannys or mans, for man's. Dr. Ash, whose English Grammar was in some repute 
in the latter part of the eighteenth century, argued against the use of the apostrophe, 
alleging that it was seldom used to distinguish the possessive case till about the 
beginning of that century ; and he then prophesied that the time would come, 
when correct writers would lay it aside again, as a strange corruption, an improper 
"departure from the original formation" of that case of English nouns. And, 
among the speculations of these latter days, I have somewhere seen an attempt to 
disparage this useful sign, and explode it, as an unsightly thing never well estab- 
lished. It does not indeed, like a syllabic sign, inform the ear or affect the sound ; 
but still it is useful, because it distinguishes to the eye, not only the case, but the 
number, of the nouns thus marked. Pronouns, being different in their declension, 
do not need it, and should therefore always be written without it. 

4. The common usage of those who have spoken English, has always inclined 
rather to brevity than to melody ; contraction and elision of the ancient terminations 


of words, constitute no small part of the change which has taken place, or of the 
difference which perhaps always existed between the solemn and the familiar style. 
In ropeet to euphony, however, these terminations have, certainly nothing to boast; 
nor does the i ; the language appear to be that in which they were 

the i without contraction. That dc^M-c of Huoothm-s of which 

the tongue was anciently -u>ceptiMe, had certainly no alliance with these additional 
syllables The long s< c 'ings which constitute the declensions and conju- 

gations of the !;-ed languages, and which seem to chime so well with the 

sublimity of 'i th- majesty of the Latin, the sweetness of the Italian, the 

dignity of the Spanish, or the pollSO of the; !'n och, /" ccrhml any place in English. 
n to onr words never embraced any other vowel power than that 
of the short e or i ; and even this we are inclined to dispense with, whenever we 
can; so that ;r grammatical inflections are, to the ear, nothing but 

consonants blended with the final syllables of the words to which they are added. 
Ing for the fh>t participle, cr for the comparative degree, and est for the superlative, 
are indeed ;;! bole syllables; but the ; or erf for preterits and 

perfect participles, s or es for the plural number of nouns, or for the third person 
singular of verbs, and st or est for the second person singular of verbs, nine times 
in ten, fall into the sound or syllable with which the primitive word terminates. 

o\\ commonly used, run through their entire conju- 

gation without acquiring a single syllable from inflection, except sometimes when 
the sound of d, s, or st cannot be added to them. 

5. This simplicity, so characteristic of our modern English, as well as of the 
Saxon tongue, its proper parent, is attended with advantages that go far to 
comj r all that is oonaeqnently lost in euphony, or in the liberty of trans- 
position. Our for i the moods and tenses, by means of a few separate 
auxiliaries and mostly without inflection, is not only simple and 
easy, but beautiful, chaste. and strong. In my opinion, our grammarians have 
shown far more affection tir the obsolete or obsolescent terminations en^ eth, est, 
and filst. than tl:< v really deserve. Till the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
en w mark the plural number of verb-. a>. they sayen for they say ; after 
which, it appears t. . q dropped. Before the beginning of the seventeenth 

ite with t/i or i-f/t the right of forming the third person 

a> the Bible and other grave books used only the latter, 

v/een the solemn and the familiar style, which 

well known at this day. Thus we have. He runs, walla, ricks, 

.i in-lli, ii'iilkvth. rnk'tft, reac/teth, &c., for the 

Aboii' earlier, the use of the second person 

tded in polite convert institution of the plural 

."tin ; and, when used ii. it was often contracted, so as to 

In old hook.s, all id participles that were 

voimnciati'.n. weiv << ntnict* d alVo, in some way, by 

the v ffy'st, ast'ritSsf. rrifdst ; " " tost, 

able.* All these, and Mich as are like 
- ial!y write dilii-n-n: : 'led, 

tt-d, finished. 
'ther noticed in the Grammar. 


6. '. <r to an J A'./-"//,./, //-/-///r// in 1837. 

.th of his ; the justice 

whi' ;. .,nd to the i. ur warm 

. I j. in in your prayers for the 
I'm \vhieh v is to be found i our 

holy religion, and in the oUuviuiLt of itb duties." YK-IUKIA, to fa Friends Society. 



7. From President Adams's Eulogy on Lafayette. Written in 1834. 

" Pronounce him one of the first men of his age, and you have yet not done him 
justice. Try him by that test to which he sought in vain to stimulate the vulgar and 
selfish spirit of Napoleon ; class him among the men who, to compare and seat themselves, 
must take in the compass of all ages ; turn back your eyes upon the records of time ; 
summon from the creation of the world to this day the mighty dead of every age and 
every clime ; and where, among the race of merely mortal men, shall one be found, 
who, as the benefactor of his kind, shall claim to take precedence of Lafayette ? " 

8. From President Jackson's Proclamation against Nullification. 1832. 

"No, we have not erred ! The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the 
bond of our Union, our defence in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace. It 
shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to. our 
posterity : and the sacrifices of local interest, of State prejudices, of personal animosities, 
that were made to bring it into existence, will again be patriotically offered for its 
support." ANDREW JACKSON. 

9. From a Note on one of Robert HaWs Sermons. Written about 1831. 

"After he had written down the striking apostrophe which occurs at about page 76 
of most of the editions ' Eternal God ! on what are thine enemies intent ! what are 
those enterprises of guilt and horror, that, for the safety of their performers, require to 
be enveloped in a darkness which the eye of Heaven must not penetrate ! ' he asked, 
1 Did I say penetrate, sir, when I preached it ? ' ' Yes.' < Do you think, sir, I may venture 
to alter it ? for no man who considered the force of the English language, would use a 
word of three syllables there, but from absolute necessity.' ' You are doubtless at 
liberty to alter it, if you think well.' Then be so good, sir, as to take your pencil, 
and for penetrate put pierce; pierce is the word, sir, and the only word to be used there.' " 

10. King William's Answer to an Address. Example written in 1830. 

" I thank you sincerely for your condolence with me, on account of the loss which I 
have sustained, in common with my people, by the death of my lamented brother, his 
late Majesty. The assurances which you have conveyed to me, of loyalty and affec- 
tionate attachment to my person, are very gratifying to my feelings. You may rely 
upon my favour and protection, and upon my anxious endeavours to promote morality 
and true piety among all classes of my subjects." WILLIAM IV, to the Friends. 

11. Reign of George IV, 1830 lack to 1820. Example written in 1827. 

" That morning, thou, that slumbered* not before, 
Nor slept, great Ocean ! laid thy waves to rest, 
And hushed thy mighty minstrelsy. No breath 
Thy deep composure stirred, no fin, no oar ; 
Like beauty newly dead, so calm, so still, 
So lovely, thou, beneath the light that fell 
From angel- chariots sentinelled on high, 
Reposed, and listened, and saw thy living change, 
Thy dead arise. Charybdis listened, and Scylla ; 
And savage Euxine on the Thracian beach 
Lay motionless : and every battle ship 
Stood still ; and every ship of merchandise, 
And all that sailed, of every name, stood still." 

ROBERT POLLOK : Course of Time, Book VII, line 634 647. 

* The author of this specimen, through a solemn and sublime poem in ten books, generally^ simplified the 
: preterit verb of the second person singular, by omitting the termination st or est, whenever his measure did 
not require the additional syllable. But his tuneless editors have, in many instances, taken the rude liberty 
both to spoil his versification, and to publish under his name what he did not write. They have given him 
bad proso li/, or unutterable karslim-x* of phraseology, tot the sake of what they conceived to be i.. 
So Kirk/iam, in copying the foregoing passage, alters in as he will ; and alters it differently, when he happens 
to write some part of it twice as, 

" That morning, thou, that slumberedst not before, 
Nor slept, great Ocean ! la'uht thy waves at rest, 
And hushed thy mighty minstrelsy.'" Kirkham's Elocution, p. 203. 

Again : " Thar, morning,- thou, that slumber (1st. not before, 

Nor slept st, great Ocean, laidst thy waves at rest, 
And kusk'dst thy mighty minstrelsy." Kirkkam^ Elocution, p. M. 



12. Reign of George III, 1820 lack to 1760. Example written in 1800. 

" There is, it will be confessed, a delicate sensibility to character, a sober desire of 
reputation, a wish to possess the esteem of the wise and good, felt by the purest minds, 
which is at the farthest remove from arrogance or vanity. The humility of a noble 
mind scarcely dares approve of itself, until it has secured the approbation of others. 
Very different is that restless desire of distinction, that passion for theatrical display, 
which inflames the heart and occupies the whole attention of vain men. * * * The 
truly good man is jealous over himself, lest the notoriety of his best actions, by 
blending itself with their motive, should diminish their value ; the vain man performs 
the same actions for the sake of that notoriety. The good man quietly discharges his 
duty, and shuns ostentation ; the vain man considers every good deed lost that is not 
publickly displayed. The one is intent upon realities, the other upon semblances : the 
one aims to be virtuous, the other to appear so." ROBERT HALL : Sermon on Modern 

13. From Wathington't Farewell Address. Example written in 1796. 

" Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and 
Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of 
patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these 
firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the 
pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their 
connexions with private and publick felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the 
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert 
the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us 
with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. 
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of a peculiar 
-tructure ; reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can 
prevail in exclusion of religious principle." GEOKGE WASHINGTON. 

14. From Dr. Johnson's Life of Addison. Example written about 1780. 

"That he always wrote as he would think it necessary to write now, cannot be 
affirmed ; his instructions were such as the character of his readers made proper. That 
general knowledge which now circulates in common talk, was in his time rarely to be 
found. Men not professing learning, were not ashamed of ignorance ; and in the female 
world, any acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured. His 
purpose was to infuse literary curiosity, by gentle and unsuspected conveyance, into 
*he gay, the idle, and the wealthy ; he therefore presented knowledge in the most 
alluring form, not lofty and austere, but accessible and familiar. When he shewed 
them their defects, he shewed them likewise that they might easily be supplied. His 
attempt succeeded ; inquiry was awakened, and comprehension expanded. An emulation 
of intellectual elegau ited, and from this time to our own, life has been gradually 

exalted, and conversation purified and enlarged." SAMUEL JOHN s p. 321. 

15. Reign of George If, 17GO back to 1727. Example icritten i.-i 1751, 

Hritons incur time have been remarkable borrowers, as our /?//'/;' >? Language 
may sufficiently shew. < >ur Term-* uijxjltte Literature prove, that this came from Gr< 

S'-jrms in itutic and /'? //<///</, th.v / ,- our Phrase in Coo?;try and 

I Tar, that we 1 from the French ; and our Phra- . that we were 

it by the Flemings and L These many and very different S urces of our 

deficient i . ' 

havo thi-^ lie defect, that what we want in W-cyance, we gain 

in ('/ t lew L t;: .1 be found superior to our own." 

J.VMK- II \ .ok iii, Ch. v, }>. 

16. Reign of Georn I. 17-J7 >,.& to 1714. K.cnmph wriifsn about 1718. 

" There is a certain CM ildness and indifference in the phrases of our European languages, 
when they .'re - .-r.nred withtho Orient;/ eech : and it happens very hi- ; - 

that the Hebrew idioms run into li tongue, with a particular grace and 

beauty. Our I and imp; :rom 

infusion of to it out of the ; \oly 

writ. T!' '.rni and ai 

that are to be 
met with in our tongu"." "fc/joe, p. 


17. Reign of Queen Anne, 1714 to 1702. Example written in 1708. 
" Some by old words to Fame have made pretence, 

Ancients in phrase, mere moderns in their sense ; 

Such labour' d nothings, in so strange a style, 

Amaze th' unlearn'd, and make the learned smile." 
" In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold ; 

Alike fantastick, if too new or old : 

Be not the first by whom the new are try'd, 

Nor yet the last to lay the old aside." 

ALEXANDER POPE : Essay on Criticism, 1. 324 336. 


- 18. Reign of William III, 1702 to 1689. Example published in 1700. 

" And when we fee a Man of Milton's Wit Chime in with fuch a Herd, and Help on 
the Cry againft Hirelings ! We find How Eafie it is for Folly and Knavery to Meet, and 
that they are Near of Kin, tho they bear Different Afpects. Therefor since Milton 
has put himfelf upon a Level with the Quakers in this, I Mill let them go together. 
And take as little Notice of his Buffoonry, as of their Dulnefs againft Tythes. Ther is 
nothing worth Quoting in his Lampoon againft the Hirelings. But what ther is of 
Argument in it, is fully Coniider'd in what follows." CHARLES LESLIE : Divine Right of 
Tithes, Pref. p. xi. 

19. Reign of James II, 1689 back to 1685. Example written in 1685. 

" His conversation, wit, and parts, 
His knowledge in the noblest useful arts, 

Were such, dead authors could not give ; 

But habitudes of those who live ; 
Who, lighting him, did greater lights receive : 

He drain' d from all, and all they knew ; 
His apprehension quick, his judgment true : 

That the most learn' d with shame confess 
His knowledge more, his reading only less." 

JOHN DBYDEN : Ode to the Memory of Charles II ; Poems, p. 84. 

20. Reign of Charles II, 1685 to 1660. Example from a Letter to the Earl 
of Sunderland, dated, "Philadelphia, 28^ bth mo. July, 1683." 

" And I will venture to say, that by the help of God, and such noble Friends, I will 
show a Province in seven years, equal to her neighbours of forty years planting. I have 
lay'd out the Province into Countys. Six are begun to be seated ; they lye on the great 
river, and are planted about six miles back. The town platt is a mile long, and two 
deep, has a navigable river on each side, the least as broad as the Thames at Woolwych, 
from three to eight fathom water. There is built about eighty houses, and I have set- 
tled at least three hundred farmes contiguous to it." WILLIAM PENN : The Friend, vii. 

21. From an Address or Dedication to Charles II. Written in 1675. 

" There is no [other] king in the world, who can so experimentally testify of God's 
providence and goodness ; neither is there any [other], who rules so many free people, 
so many true Christians : which thing renders thy government more honourable, thyself 
more considerable, than the accession of many nations filled with slavish and supersti- 
tious souls." KOBERT BARCLAY : Apology, p. viii. 

22. The following example, from the commencement of Paradise Lost, first 
published in 1667, has been cited by several authors, to show how large a proportion 
of our language is of Saxon origin. The thirteen words in Italics are the only 
ones in this passage, which seem to have been derived from any other source. 

" Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit 
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the world, and all our woe, 
With loss of Eden ; till one greater Man 
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, 
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top 
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire 
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed, 
In the beginning, how the Heav'ns and Earth 
Rose out of Chaos." MILTON : Paradise Lost, Book I. 


23. Esamplrs written fbmny CromwetTs Protectorate, 1660 to 1650. 

" The Quccne was pleased to shew me the letter, the scale bcinge a Roman eagle, 
having- characters about it almost like the Grecke. This day, in the afternoone, the 
vicc-chauncellor came to me and stayed about four hours with me ; in which tyme we 
conversed upon the longe debates." WiUTr.i.ooK.i: : Baches Class. Gram., p. 140. 

" I am yet heere, and have the States of Holland intra^ed in a more than ordnary 
manor, to procure me audience, of tli ver happen, the effects 

must ncedes be good.' '- \M>: Biickes Classical Gram., p. 149. 

"24. Reign of Charles /, 1648 to 1625. Example from Ben Jonson's 
Grammar, written about 1634; but the orthography is more modcr 

" The second and third person singular of the present are made of the first, by adding 

est and cth ; which last is sometimes shortened into s. It seemeth to have been poetical 

licence which first introduced this abbreviation of the third person into use ; but our 

immarians have condemned it upon some occasions, though perhaps not to be 

absolutely banished the common and familiar style." 

" The persons plural keep the termination of the first person singular. In former 
times, till about the reign of Henry the eighth, they were wont to be formed by adding 
en ; thus, foven, sayen, complainen. But now (whatever is the cause) it hath quite grown 
out of use, and that other so generally prevailed, that I dare not presume to set this 
afoot again : albeit (to tell you my opinion) I am persuaded that the lack hereof well 
considered, will be found a great blemish to our tongue. For seeing lime and person be, 
as it were, the riu'ht and left hand of a verb, what can the maiming bring else, but a 
lameness to the whole body ? " Book i, Chap. xvi. 

;a of James I, 1625 to 1603. From an Advertisement, dated 1608. 

"Isvppose it altogether needlcsse (Christian Reader) by commending M. William 
. the Author of this booke, to wooe your holy affection, which either himselfe in 
his life time by his Christian conversation hath woon in you, or sithence his death, the 
neucr-dying memorie of his excellent knowledge, his great humilitie, his sound religion, 
his painefull labours, in the Church of God, doe most iustly challenge 
at your hands : onely in one word, I dare be bold to say of him. as in. times past JN 'azianzen 
spake of At', 3 a good definition of a true minister and preacher of 

the Gospell." The Printer to the Reader. 

Examples written about the end of Elizabeth' s reign 1603. 

" Some say, That euer 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's Birth is celebrated, 
The Bird of Dawning singeth all night long; 
And then, say they, no Spirit dares walk abroad : 
The nights are wholsom, then no Planets strike, 
! 'airy takes, nor Witch hath pow'r to charm ; 
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time." 


" The sea, with such a storme as his bare head 
In hcll-blacke ni^ht indur'd, would haue buoy'd up 
And quench' d the stellecl 

mart, he holpe the hcucns toraine. 
If w. ilues had at thy gate howl'd that sterne time, 
Thou shouldst haue said, Good porter, turne the key." 



of A7/0//W/,. 1003 back to 1558. Example written in 1592. 

"As for the soule, it is no accidcntaric qualitie, but a spirituall and inuisible essence or 
natti- h pluinely appeares in that the soules of men haue 

bei-ing and continu ;i forth of the bodies of men as in the same ; and are as 

wel subicet to torments as the bodie is. And whereas we can and doe put in practise 
sunclric actions of li. .<>tion, vnderstamlin:;, we doe it onely by the power and 

vcrtue of the soule. II. lithe difference bctwecne the s.m'lrs of men, and 

:nen are sub>t;mces : but : .[' other creatures >eeme not to 

they haue no beeing out of the bodies in which they are." 

WILLIAM PEKKINS : Thi-ul. ll'urks, folio, p. L;-}. 


28. Examples written about the beginning of Elizabeth's reign. 1558. 

" Who can perswade, treason is aboue reason ; and mighte ruleth righte ; and 
it is had for lawfull, whatsoever is lustfull ; and commotioners are better than commis- 
sioners ; and common woe is named common weale ?" SIR JOHN CHEKE. 

"If a yong jentleman will venture him selfe into the companie of ruffians, it is over 
great a jeopardie, lest their facions, maners, thoughts, taulke, and dedes, will veriesone 
be over like." ROGER ASCHAM. 

29. Reign of Mary the Bigot, 1558 to 1553. Example written about 1555. 

" And after that Philosophy had spoken these wordes the said company e of the musys 
poeticall beynge rebukyd and sad, caste downe their countenaunce to the grounde, and 
by blussyng confessed their shamefastnes, and went out of the dores. But I (that had 
my syght dull and blynd wyth wepyng, so that I knew not what woman this was 
hauyng soo great aucthoritie) was amasyd or astonyed, and lokyng downeward, towarde 
the ground, I began pryvyle to look what thyng she would saye ferther." COLVELLE : 
Version from Botthius : Johnson's Hist, of E. L., p. 29. 

30. Example referred by Dr. Johnson to the year 1553. 

* Pronunciation is an apte orderinge bothe of the voyce, countenaunce, and all the 
whole bodye, accordynge to the worthines of such woordes and mater as by speache 
are declared. The vse hereof is suche for anye one that liketh to haue prayse for 
tellynge his tale in open assemblie, that hauing a good tongue, and a comelye 
countenaunce, he shal be thought to passe all other that haue not the like vtteraunce : 
thoughe they have muche better learning." DR. WILSON : Johnson's Hist. E. L., p. 45. 

31. Reign of Edward VI, 1553 to 1547. Example written about 1550. 

" Who that will folio we the graces manyfolde 
Which are in vertue, shall finde auauncement : 
Wherefore ye fooles that in your sinne are bolde, 
Ensue ye wisdome, and leaue your lewde intent, 
Wisdome is the way of men most excellent : 
Therefore haue done, and shortly spede your pace, 
To quaynt your self and company with grace." 

ALEXANDER BARCLAY : Johnson's Hist. E. L. t p. 44. 

32. Reign of Henry VIII, 1547 to 1509. Example dated 1541. 

" Let hym that is angry euen at the fyrste consyder one of these thinges, that like as 
he is a man, so is also the other, with whom he is angry, and therefore it is as lefull 
for the other to be angry, as unto hym : and if he so be, than shall that anger be to 
hym displeasant, and stere hym more to be angrye." SIR THOMAS ELLIOTT : Castel of 

33. Example of the earliest English Blank Verse ; written about 1540. The 
supposed author died in 1541, aged 38. The piece from which these lines are 
taken describes the death of Zoroas, an Egyptian astronomer, slain in Alexander's 
first battle with the Persians. 

"The Persians waild such sapience to foregoe ; 
And very sone the Macedonians wisht 
He would have lived ; king Alexander selfe 
Demde him a man unmete to dye at all ; 
Who wonne like praise for conquest of his yre, 
As for stoute men in field that day subdued, 
Who princes taught how to discerne a man, 
That in his head so rare a jewel beares ; 
But over all those same Camenes,* those same 
Divine Camenes, whose honour he procurde, 
As tender parent doth his daughters weale, 
Lamented, and for thankes, all that they can, 
Do cherish hym deceast, and sett hym free, 
From dark oblivion of devouring death." 

Probably written by SIR THOMAS WYAT. 

* Camenes, the Muses, whom Horace called Camancr. The former is an English plural from the latter, or 
from the Latin word camena, a muse or song. These lines are copied from Dr. Johnson's History of the 
English Language ; their orthography is, in some respects, toe modtrn for the age to which they are assigned. 


34. A Letter written from prison, with a coal. The writer, Sir Thomas More, 
whose works, both in prose and verse, were considered models of pure and elegant 
style, had been Chancellor of England, and the familiar confidant of Henry VIII, 
by whose order he was beheaded in 1 535. 

" Myne own good doughter, our Lorde be thanked I am in good helthe of bodye, and 
in good quiet of minde : and of worldly thynges I no more desyer then I haue. 
beseche hym make you all mery in the" hope of heaucn. And such thynges as I 
somewhat longed to talke with you all, concerning the worlde to come, our Lorde put 
theim into your myndes, as I truste he doth and better to by hys holy spirite : who 
blesse you and preserue you all. Written wyth a cole by y our 'tender louing father, 
who in hys pore prayers forgetteth none of you all, nor your babes, nor your nources, 
nor your <:ood husbandes, nor your good husbandes shrewde wyucs, nor your fathers 
shrewde wyfe neither, nor our other frendes. And thus fare ye hartely well for lacke of 
paper. THOMAS MORE, knight." Johnson's Hist. E. Lang., p. 42. 

35. From More' s Description of Richard III. Probably written about 1520. 
" Richardc the third sonne, of whom we nowe entreate, was in. witte and courage 

egall with either of them, in bodye and prowesse farre vnder them bothe, little of stature, 
ill fetured of limmes, croke backed, his left shoulder much higher than his right, hard 
fauoured of visage, and such as is in states called warlye, in other menne otherwise, 
he "was malicious, wrathfull, enuious, and from afore his birth euer frowarde. * * * Hee 
was close and secrete, a deep dissimuler, lowlye of counteynaunce, arrogant of heart 
dispitious and crucll, not for euill will alway, but after for ambicion, and either for 
the suretie and encreasc of his estate. Frende and foo was muche what indifferent, 
where his aduauntage grew, he spared no mans deathe, whose life withstoode his purpose. 
He slew with his owne handesking Henry the sixt, being prisoner in the Tower." SIB 
THOMA .''thnsons History of the English Language, p. 39. 

36. Prom his description of Fortune , written about the year 1500. 

"Fortune is stately, solemne, prowde, and hye : 
And rychesse geueth, to haue seruyce therefore. 
The nedy begger catcheth an half peny : 
Some manne a thousande pounde, some lesse some more. 
But for all that she kepeth euer in store, 
From cuery manne some parcell of his wyll, 
That he may pray therfore and serve her sty 11. 

Some manne hath good, but chyldren hath he none. 
Some manne hath both, but he can get none health. 
Some hath al thre, but vp to honours trone, 
(.'an he not crepe, by no manor of stclth. 
To some she sendeth chyldren, ryches, welthe, 
Honour, woorshyp, and reuerence all hys lyfe : 
But yet she pyncheth hym with a shrewde wife." 



37 . Example for the reign of Henry VII, who was crowned on Bosworth 
field, 14S"). andwko died in 1509. 

" \Vhercfor and forasmoche as we haue sent for our derrest wif, and for our derrest 
moder, to come unto us, and that we wold have your advis and counsail also in soche 
matters as we haue to doo for the subduying of the rebelles, we praie you, that, yeving 
your due attcndaunee vppon our said derrc^t wit' and lady moder, ye come with thaym 
unto us; not tailing hcrof as ye purpose to doo us plaisir. Yeven undre our signett, 
at our Ca>t,< -11 .if Kenelworth, the xiij claie of Maye." HKXBY VII : Letter to the Earl of 
Ormond: lluck>' ''//////., p. 147. 

38. Kmwfh-f'.r the short reign of Richard III, from 1485 to 1483. 
"Right n-vei-.-iid fader in God, rijjht trusty and right wel-belovcd, we grete yow wele, 

and wol and eharge you that under oure greate scale, being in your warde, ye do make 
in all haist our lett: imation severally to be directed unto the shirrefs of everie 

countie within this oure royaumc." RICHAKU III : Letter to his Chancellor. 

39. Reign of Edward IV. from 1483 to 1461. Example written tn!364. 

" Forasmoche as we by divers meanes bene credebly cnformed and undarstand for 
certyne, that owr greate adversary Henry, naminge hyui'selfe kynge of England, by the 


maliceous counseylo and exitacion of Margaret his wife, namynge hir selfe queane of 
England, have conspired," &c. EDWARD IV: Letter of Privy Seal. 

40. Examples for the reign of Henry VI, from 1461 back to 1422. 

" When Nembroth [i. e. Nimrod] by Might, for his own Glorye, made and incorporate 
the first Realme, and subduyd it to hymself by Tyrannye, he would not have it governyd 
by any other Rule or Lawe, but by his own Will ; by which and for th' accomplishment 
thereof he made it. And therfor, though he had thus made a Realme, holy Scripture 
denyd to cal hym a Kyng, Quiet Rex dicitar a Regendo Whych tliyng he did not, but 
oppressyd the People by Myght." SIR JOHN FORTESCUE. 

41. Example from Lydgate, a poetical Monk, who died in 1440. 

" Our life here short of wit the great dulnes 
The heuy soule troubled with trauayle, 
And of memorye the glasyng brotelnes, 
Drede and vncunning haue made a strong batail 
With worines my spirite to assayle, 
And with their subtil creping in most queint 
Hath made my spirit in makyng for to feint." 

JOHN LYDGATE : Fall of Princes, Book III, Prol. 

42 Example for the reign of Henry V,from 1422 back to 1413. 

"I wolle that the Due of Orliance be kept stille withyn the Castil of Pontefret, with 
owte goyng to Robertis place, or to any other disport, it is better he lak his disport then 
we were disceyved. Of all the remanant dothe as ye thenketh." Letter of HENRY V. 

43. Example for the reign of Henry IV, from 1413 lack to 1400. 

" Right heigh and myghty Prynce, my goode and gracious Lorde, I recommaund 
me to you as lowly as I kan or may with all my pouer hert, desiryng to hier goode and 
gracious tydynges of your worshipful astate and welfare." LORD GREY : Letter to the 
Prince of Wales: Bucke's Classical Gram., p. 145. 


44. Reign of Richard II, 1400 back to 1377. Example written in 1391. 

" Lytel Lowys my sonne, I perceve well by certaine evidences thyne abylyte to lerne 
scyences, touching nombres and proporcions, and also well consydre I thy besye prayer 
in especyal to lerne the tretyse of the astrolabye. Than for as moche as a philosopher 
saithe, he wrapeth hym in his frende, that condiscendeth to the ryghtfull prayers of 
his frende : therefore I have given the a sufficient astrolabye for oure orizont, compown- 
ed after the latitude of Oxenforde : vpon the whiche by meditacion of this lytell tretise, 
I purpose to teche the a certaine nombre of conclusions, pertainynge to this same in- 
strument." GEOFFREY CHAUCER: Of the Astrolabe. 

45. Example written about 1385 to be compared with that 0/1555, on p. 70. 

"And tlvus this companie of muses iblamed casten wrothly the chere dounward to 
the yerth, and shewing by rednesse their shame, thei passeden sorowfully the thresholde. 
And I of whom the sight plounged in teres was darked, so that I ne might not know 
what that woman was, of so Imperial aucthoritie, I woxe all abashed and stonicd, and 
cast my sight doune to the yerth, and began still for to abide what she would doen 
afterward." CHAUCER: Version from Boethius: Johnson' s Hist, of E. L., p. 29. 

46. Poetical Example probably written before 1380. 

" O Socrates, thou stedfast champion ; 

She ne might nevir be thy turmentour, 
Thou nevir dreddist her oppression, 

Ne in her chere foundin thou no favour, 

Thou knewe wele the disceipt of her colour, 

And that her moste worship is for to lie, 
I knowe her eke a false dissimulour, 

For finally Fortune I doe defie." CHAUCER. 

47. Reign of Edward III, 1377 to 1327. Example written about 1360. 

"And eke full ofte a littell skare 
Vpon a bankc, er men be ware, 
Let in the streme, whiche with gret peine, 
If any man it shall restreine. 
Where lawe failleth, errour groweth ; 
He is not wise, who that ne troweth." SIR JOHN GOWE. 



48. / 7 '/'/'?///>>, the English trar,>Ucr wriftrn in 1356. 

44 And this sterrc that is toward the Northe, that wee clepen the lode stcrre, ne ap- 
perethe not to hem. For whit-he cause, men may wel pereeyve, that the lond and the 
see ben of rowivle sehapp and forme. For the partie of the firmament schewethe in o 
contree. . not in another contree. And men may well proven be experi- 

ence a-. -nt of wytt, that /if a man ton 1 be schippes, that 

wolde go to serehen the world, men mighte go be schippe all aboute the world, and 
abovcn then. The whiehe thing I prove thus, aftre that I have scyn. * * * 

Be the whiehe I rteynly, that men may envirowne alle the erthe of alle the 

world, as wel mi'l 'ii, and turnen a/en to his contree, that hadde companye 

ml eonduyr : and alle weyes he scholde fynde men, londes, and ylea, 
als wel as in this contree." SIK JOHN M.VNDUVIU.K : .Inltmon's Hist, of E. L. t p. 26. 

49. JZxample from the Visions of Pierce Ploughman, 1350. 

"In the soin 
When hot w;is the Sun, 
I shope me into shroubs, 
As I a s hope were ; 

In habit as an harmet, 
Vnholy of werkes, 
Went wyde in this world. 
Wonders to heare." 

50. / ><>/ <t SI, !p referred to the reign of Edward II: 1327-1307. 

" Such ne saw they never none, 
For it was so g;. 


. Of i ive, 

Her .it' ivory, 

Of sainyte her tly, 

Her robes all of whyte sylk, 
As whyte as ever was ony mylke. 
The noble ship was without 
With clothes of gold spread about 
And her loft and her wyndlace 
All of gold depaynted was." 
ANONYMOUS : Btickes Gram, p 


51. / ll'iward I, who reigned till 1307 /row 1^ 

' Thah mi ; -of stel, 

An: tras, 

That g K I ward was: 


In ueh batlaillo thou hadest ; 
God bringe thi soule to the honour, 
That ever we.s ant uv 

Now i-; Edward of Carnavan 

Kyng of Engelond al aplyght ; 
God lete him never be worse man 

Then his fader, ne lasse myht, 
To holden his pore men to ryht, 

Ant understonde good counsail, 
Al Engelond for to wysse and dyht ; 

Of gode knyhtes darh him nout fail." 
ANON : Percy's Reliyuea, Vol. ii, p. 10. 


n:>. / ', I If. 1-272 to 1216. Es.nnjilc from an old ballad en- 

titled Richard of Alin<ii<jne ; which Percy says was " made by one of the adhe- 
rent- of .^i- ii' 111 <ie M'Mitturr. earl of J^cicostcr, soon after the battle of Lewes, 
which was fought, May 14, 1*3)4." Prrry's li^i^irs, Vol. ii. 

'"th alle stille, and herkncth to me; 
The kyug of Almaigne, bi mi leaute, 
Thritti tliousent })ound askede he 
For tc make the pees in the countre, 

he dude more. 

.rd, thah thou be ever trie-hard, 
Trii'htcn shalt thou never more." 

53. In the following examples, I substitute Roman letters for the Saxon. At 
this period. \v- tin-1 the ehara<-ters mixed. The style here is that which Johnson 
calls "a kind "t ite diction, neither Saxon nor English." Of these 

liistorieal i'r. >'t>sfer, the l)nrtor riv-s us more than two 

hundred liu->; 1'Ut ho date- tln-m no further than to wiy. that the author "is 
placed by the criti<- : :- in the thirteenth century." Hist, nf Rug. Lang., p. U4. 

nble man, as in the tier of ^ace he nom 
Ired and syxty and tiielue the kyndom. 
Ar-t In me ybe, and, vor y> . <m, 

Thi 'ho he thuder com, 

And tae kyniies croune of hys lond, that in this lond gut ys : 
And he led hym to be kyng, ar he kyng were y wys. 



An he was kyng of Engelond, of alle that ther come, 

That vorst thus ylad was of the pope of Rome, 

An suththe other after hym of the erchebyssopes echon." 

" Clerc he was god ynou, and gut, as me telleth me, 
He was more than ten ger old, ar he couthe ys abece. 
Ac ys gode moder ofte smale gyftes hym tok, 
Tor to byleue other pie, and loky on ys boke. 
So that by por clergye ys rygt lawes he wonde, 
That neuere er nere y mad to gouerny ys lond." 

ROBERT OF GLOUCESTER: Johnson's Hist, of E. L., p. 25. 

54. Reign of John, 1216 lack to 1199. Subject of Christ's Crucifixion. 

" I syke when y singe for sore we that y se 
When y with wypinge bihold upon the tre, 
Ant se Jhesu the suete ys hert blod for-lete - 
For the love of me; 
Ys woundes waxen wete, thei wepen, still and mete, 

Marie reweth me." 
i ANON : Buckets Gram. p. 142. 


55. Reign of Richard I, 1199 lack to 1189. Old and Nightingale. 

" Ich was in one sum ere dale, 
In one snive digele pale, 
I herde ich hold grete tale, 
An hule and one nightingale. 
That plait was stif I stare and strong, 
Sum wile softe I lud among. 

An other again other sval 

I let that wole mod ut al. 

I either seide of otheres custe, 

That alere worste that hi wuste 

I hure and I hure of others songe 

Hi hold plaidung futhe stronge." 

ANON : Buckes Gram. p. 142. 

56. Reign of Henry II, 1189 back to 1154. Example dated 1180. 

And of alle than folke 
The wuneden ther on folde, 
Wes thisses landes folke 

Leodene hendest itald ; 
And alswa the wimmen 
Wunliche on heowen." 

GODRIC : Bticke's Gram. p. 141. 

57. Example from the Saxon Chronicle, written about 1160. 

" Micel hadde Henri king gadered gold & syluer, and na god ne dide me for his saule 
thar of. Tha the king Stephne to Engla-land com, tha macod he his gadering a;t 
Oxene-ford, & thar he nam the biscop Roger of Seres-beri, and Alexander biscop of Lin- 
coln, & te Canceler Roger hife neues, & dide selle in prisun, til hi jafen up here castles. 
Tha the suikes under gaeton that he milde man was & softe & god, & na justise ne dide ; 
tha diden hi alle wunder." See Johnson's Hist, of the Eng. Language, p. 22. 

58. Reign of Stephen, 1154 to 1135. 

" Fur in see bi west Spaygne. 
Is a lond ihone Cokaygne. 
Ther nis lond under heuenriche. 
Of wel of godnis hit iliche. 
Thoy paradis be iniri and briyt. 
Cokaygne is of fairer siyt. 

Example written about this time. 

What is ther in paradis. 
Bot grasse and flure and greneris. 
Thoy ther be ioi and gret dute. 
Ther nis met bot senlic frute. 
Ther nis halle bure no bench. 
Bot watir manis thurst to quench." 
ANON : Johnson's Hist. Eny. Lang. p. 23. 

59. Reign of Henry I, 1135 to 1100. Part of an Anglo-Saxon Hymn. 

" Heuene & crthe & all that is, 

Biloken is on his honde. 

He deth al that his wille is, 

On sea and ec on londe. 

He is orde albuten orde, 
And ende albuten ende. 

He one is cure on eche stede, 
Wende wer thu wende. 

He is buuen us and binethen, 
Biuoren and ec bihind. 

Se man that Godes wille deth, 
He mai hine aihwar uinde, 

Eche rune he iherth, 

And wot eche dede. 
He durh sigth echos ithanc, 

Wai hwat sel us to rede. 



So man neure ncle don god, 
No neure god lif leden, 

Er deth & dom come to his dure, 
lie inai him sore adreden. 

Hunger & thurst hete & chcle, 
Kc-the and all xinhelthe, 

Durh deth com on this midelard, 
And other uniselthe. 

Ne mai non herte hit ithcnche. 

Ne no tunge telle, 
Hu muchele pinum and hu uele, 

Bieth inne hellc. 

Louie God mid ure hiertc, 
And mid all ure mihte, 
And ure emcristene swo us self, 

Swo us lereth drihte." 
ANON : Johnson's Hist. En-y. Lang. p. 21. 






60. Saxon. llth Cen- 

LUC^l, CAP. I. 

" 5. On Herodes dagum 
Indea cynincgcs, wa\s sum 
sacerd on naman Zacharias, 
of Abian tune : and his wif 
of Aarones dohtrum, 
and hyre nama wses Eliz- 

-"ithlioc hig wa?ron 
butu rihtwi>c bcforan Gode, 
ganiremle on callum his be- 
bodum and rihtwisnessum, 
butan wrohte. 

7. And hi<* ntefdon nan 
bearn, forth am the Elizabeth 
wa?s unberende ; and hy on 
hyra dagum butu forth-eo- 

8. Sothlice wses geworden 
Zai -lianas hys sacerd- 

a-cac on his gewrix- 
endebyrdnesse beforan 

Kftcr gewunan thus 
Baeerdhades hlotes, he code 
that he his offrunge sette, 
tha he on Godes tempel 

10. Eall werod tha?s folces 
W8B8 ute gebiddende on 
thaere offrunge timan. 

11. Tha aetywde him 
Driht; standi-nde 
on tli:i-s wcoibdes swithran 

12. Tha weard Zacharias 

-conde, and 

13. Tha cwieth s> 

indni'd thu the 
. tortham tliin ben 
gehvred, and thin wif 
i/.abfth the sunu centh, 
d thu nemst liys naman 
Johannes." Saxon Gospels. 

English. 14th Century. 


"5. In the dayes of Er- 
oude kyng of Judec ther was 
a prest Zacarye by name, 
of the sort of Abia : and his 
\vyi' was of the doughtris of 
Aaron, and hir name was 

6. And bothe weren juste 
bifore God, goynge in alle 
the maundementis and justi- 
fy in gis of the Lord, with- 
outen playnt. 

7. And thei haddcn no 
child, for Elizabeth was bar- 
eyn ; and bothe weren of 
greet age in her dayes. 

8. And it befel that 
whanne Zacarye schould do 
the office of presthod in the 
ordir of his course to fore 

9. Aftir the custom of the 
presthood, he wente forth 
by lot, and entride into the 
temple to encensen. 

10. And al the multitude 
of the puplc was without 
forth and preyede in the our 
of encensying. 

11. And an aungel of the 
Lord apperide to him, and 
stood on the right half of 
the auter of encense. 

\'2. And Zacarye seyin^e 
was afrayed, and drede fel 
upon him. 

13. And the aungel sayde 
to him, Zacarye, dredc thou 
not; for thy preier is herd, 
and Elizabeth thi wif schal 
'"re to thee a sone, and his 
name sehal be elcpid Jon." 
''s Bible, 1380. 

English. 17th Century. 


" 5. There was in the days 
of Herod the king of Judea, 
a certain priest named Zach- 
arias, of the course of Abia : 
and his wife was of the 
daughters of Aaron, and her 
name was Elisabeth. 

6. And they were both 
righteous before God, walk- 
ing in all the commandments 
and ordinances of the Lord, 

7. And they had no child, 
because that Elisabeth was 
barren ; and they both were 
now well stricken in years. 

8. And it came to pass, 
that while he executed the 
priest's office before God in 
the order of his course, 

9. According to the cus- 
tom of the priest's office, his 
lot was to burn incense when 
he went into the temple of 
the Lord. 

10. And the whole multi- 
tude of the people were 
praying without at the time 
of incense. 

11. And there appeared 
unto him an angel of the 
Lord, standing on the right 
side of the altar of incense. 

12. And when Zaehariae 
saw him, he was troubled, 
and i'rar fell \ipon him. 

13. But the angel said un- 
to him, Fear Tint, /arharias; 
for thy prayer is heard, and 
thy wife Elisabeth shall bear 
thee a son, and thou shalt 
call his name John." 

Common Bible, 1610. 

See Dr. Johnson's History of the English Language, in his Quarto Dictionary. 

The Snxon characters being known nowadays to but very few readers I have thought proper to gubstitute 
in th> latter ^.fdinuis of thfc chapter, the Roman ; and, as the old use of colons and periods for 
the niaHe*t pauses, is liable to mislead a common observer, the punctuation too hu here been modernized. 



61. Alfred the Great, was the youngest son of Ethelwolf, king of the West 
Saxons, and succeeded to the crown on the death of his brother Ethelred, in the 
year 871, being then twenty-two years old. He had scarcely time to attend the 
funeral of his brother, before he was called to the field to defend his country against 
the Danes. After a reign of more than twenty-eight years, rendered singularly 
glorious by great achievements under difficult circumstances, he died universally 
lamented, on the 28th 1 of October, A.D. 900. By this prince the university of 
Oxford was founded, and provided with able teachers from the continent. His 
own great proficiency in learning, and his earnest efforts for its promotion, form a 
striking contrast with the ignorance which prevailed before. " In the ninth cen- 
tury, throughout the whole kingdom of the West Saxons, no man could be found 
who was scholar enough to instruct the young king Alfred, then a child, even in 
the first elements of reading : so that he was in his twelfth year before he could 
name the letters of the alphabet. When that renowned prince ascended the throne, 
he made it his study to draw his people out of the sloth and stupidity in which 
they lay ; and became, as much by his own example as by the encouragement he 
gave to learned men, the great restorer of arts in his dominions." Life of Bacon. 

62. The language of eulogy must often be taken with some abatement : it does 
not usually present things in their due proportions. How far the foregoing quota- 
tion is true, I will not pretend to say ; but what is called " the revival of learning," 
must not be supposed to have begun at so early a period as that of Alfred. The 
following is a brief specimen of the language in which that great man wrote ; bur, 
printed in Saxon characters, it would appear still less like English. 

" On threre tide the Gotan of Siththiu msogthe -with llomana rice gewin upahofori. 
and mith heora cyningum. Rsedgota and Eallerica wseron hatne. Romano buri? 
abrajcon. and eall Italia rice that is betwux tham muntxim and Sicilia tham ealondc in 
anwald gerehton. and tha segter tham. foresprecenan cyningum Theodric feng to thai i 
ilcan rice se Theodric waes Amulinga. he wses Cristen. theah he on tham Arrianisca i 
gedwolan durhwunode. He gehet Romanum his freondscype. swa that hi mostan heora 
ealdrichta wyrthe beon." KING ALFRED: Johnson's Hist, of E. L. t 4to Diet. p. 17. 



" Grammatica quid est? ars recte scribendi recteque loquendi ; poetarum enarrationem continens; omnium 
scientiarum fons uberrimus. * * * Nostra aetas parum perita veterum, nimis brcvi gyro grammaticum sepsit : 
at apud antiques olim tantum auctoritas hie ordo habuit, ut censores essent et judices scriptorum omnium soli 
grammatici : quos ob id etiam Criticos vocabant." DESPAUTEB. Prezf. ad Synt. fol. 1. 

1. Such is the peculiar power of language, that there is scarcely any subject so 
trifling, that it may not thereby be plausibly magnified into something great ; nor 
are there many things which cannot be ingeniously disparaged till they shall seem 
contemptible. Cicero goes further : " Nihil est tarn incredibile quod non dicendo 
fiat probabile ;" " There is nothing so incredible that it may not by the power of 
language be made probable." The study of grammar has been often overrated, 
and still oftener injuriously decried. I shall neither join with those who would 
lessen in the public esteem that general system of doctrines, which from time im- 
memorial has been taught as grammar; nor attempt, either by magnifying its prac- 


tical results, or by decking it out with my own imaginings, to invest it with any 
artificial or extraneous importance. 

J. I shall not follow the footsteps of Neef, who avers that, "Grammar and 
incongruity are identical things," and who, under pretence of reaching the same 
end by letter means, scornfully rejects as nonsense every tiling that others have 
taught under that name; he-cause 1 am convinced, that, of all met] ''hing, 

none gees farther than his, to prove the reproachful as>ertion true. Nor shall I 
imitate the declamation of Oardell; who, at the commencement of recom- 

:al study of language on earth, from the coiiMderation that, "The 
faculty of >peech is the medium of social bliss for superior intelligences in an eternal 
world;"* and who, when he has exhausted censure in condemning the practical 
ions of others, thus lavishes praise, in both his grammars, upon that form- 
ill, and incomprehensible theory of his own: " This application of words," 
says he, " in their endless u>e, by one plain rule, to all things which nouns can 
name, in>fead of being the fit subject of blind cavil, is the most sublime theme pre- 
> f n. h is the practical i.tti rmnrse of the soul, at once 

U'if/i ifs f.i'i'd, ami irit/i all parts of his works!" Carddl's Cram, llimo, p. 87; 
Gram. ISmo, p. 49. 

3 Here, indeed, a wide prospect opens before us; but he who traces science, 
and teaches what is practically useful, must check imagination, and be content 
with sober truth. 

r apt the mind or fancy is to rove 
Uncheck'd, and of her roving is no end." MILTON. 

ithin its proper limits, and viewed in its true light, the practical science 

iimar has an intrinsic dignity and merit sufficient to throw back upon any 

iiiun who dares il it, the lasting stigma of folly and self-conceit. It is 

of men are fallible, and many opinions are liable to be re- 

: but what has been long established by the unanimous 

concurn-ni-c of the learned, it can hardly be the part of a wise instructor now to dis- 
pute. The literary reform. ; who, with the last named gentleman, imagines "that 
iie civilized world have looked up for instruction in language, 
;i the main points,"! intends no middle course of reformation, 
and i. D eiiher of great merit, or of little modesty. 

I. i -iy now be regarded as the common inheritance of 

about fifty millions <-f peoj ! : \\ho are at least as highly distinguished for virtue, 
. and i-nk-rpri- other equal portion of the earth's population. 

All tli- i in the purity, permanency, and ri;ht use of 

that la: i e, not only the medium of mental intercourse 

v.-ith other- for them and their children, but the vehicle of all they value, in the 
ir. i-r in the transmission of their own. It is even im- 
pertinent, to lability, that the study of this his native lan- 
uee and inu-re.-t : if be does not, from these 
1 it to be so, the suggestion will be less likely to 
convince him, than t . as conveying an implicit censure. 

5. K\< v person v* : y ambition to appear K'.-pcctal'i" among people of 

education, whether ii .in correspondence, in public speaking, or in 

print, nm>t la- awar mpctent knowledge of the 

language in which he attempt.- H hi.> "thoughts. Mnnv a ludicrou- 

-e words of which they did not know the 

York, 1S26. p. 2. This writfr was a ^rcat admirer of 

und of whoM MnMtionJ) only words are the repreeenutires." Diversions oj Purity, Vol. ii, p. 9. 


proper application ; many a ridiculous blunder has been published to the lasting 
disgrace of the writer ; and so intimately does every man's reputation for sense 
depend upon his skill in the use of language, that it is scarcely possible to acquire 
the one without the other. Who can tell how much of his own good or ill success, 
how much of the favour or disregard with which he himself has been treated, may 
have depended upon that skill or deficiency in grammar, of which, as often as he has 
either spoken or written, he must have afforded a certain and constant evidence '?* 

6. I have before said, that to excel in grammar, is but to know better than others 
wherein grammatical excellence consists ; and, as this excellence, whether in the 
thing itself, or in him that attains to it, is merely comparative, there seems to be 
no fixed point of perfection beyond which such learning may not be carried. In 
speaking or writing to different persons, and on different subjects, it is necessary 
to vary one's style with great nicety of address ; and in nothing does true genius 
more conspicuously appear, than in the facility with which it adopts the most ap- 

gropriate expressions, leaving the critic no fault to expose, no word to amend, 
uch facility of course supposes an intimate knowledge of all words in common use. 
and also of the principles on which they are to be combined. 

7. With a language which we are daily in the practice of hearing, speaking, 
reading, and writing, we may certainly acquire no inconsiderable acquaintance, 
without the formal study of its rules. All the true principles of grammar were 
presumed to be known to the learned, before they were written for the aid of 
learners ; nor have they acquired any independent authority, by being recorded in 
a book, and denominated grammar. The teaching of them, however, has tended 
in no small degree to settle and establish the construction of the language, to 
improve the style of our English writers, and to enable us to ascertain with more' 
clearness the true standard of grammatical purity. He who learns only by rote, 
may speak the words or phrases which he has thus acquired ; and he who has the 
genius to discern intuitively what is regular and proper, may have further aid 
from the analogies which he thus discovers; but he who would add to sucl 
acquisitions the satisfaction of knowing what is right, must make the principles ol' 
language his study. 

8. To produce an able and elegant writer, may require something more than a 
knowledge of grammar rules ; yet it is argument enough in favour of those rules, 
that without a knowledge of them no elegant and able writer is produced. Who 
that considers the infinite number of phrases which words in their various combina- 
tions may form, and the utter impossibility that they should ever be recognized 
individually for the purposes of instruction and criticism, but must see the absolute 
necessity of dividing words into classes, and of showing, by general rules of 
formation and construction, the laws to which custom commonly subjects them, or 
from which she allows them in particular instances to deviate ? Grammar, or the 
art of writing and speaking, must continue to be learned by some persons ; because 
it is of indispensable use to society. And the only question is, whether children 
and youth shall acquire it by a regular process of study and method of instruction, 
or be left to glean it solely from their own occasional observation of the manner in 
which other people speak and write. 

9. The practical solution of this question belongs chiefly to parents and guard- 
ians. The opinions of teachers, to whose discretion the decision will somednies be 
left, must have a certain degree of influence upon the public mind ; and the 
popular notions of the age, in respect to the relative value of different studies, will 
doubtless bias many to the adoption or the rejection of this. A consideration of 
the point seems to be appropriate here, and I cannot forbear to commend the study 
to the favour of my readers ; leaving every one, of course, to choose how much he 
will be influenced by my advice, example, or arguments. If past experience and 

* " Quoties dicimus. totits de nob is judicature Cicero. "As often &s we speak, so often are we judged." 


the history of education be taken for guides, the study of English grammar will 
not be neglected ; and the method of its inculcation will become an object of 
particular inquiry and solicitude. The English language ought to be learned at 
school or in colleges, as other languages usually are ; by the study of its grammar, 
accompanied with regular exercises of parsing, correcting, pointing, and >-anning ; 
and by the perusal of some of its most accurate writers, accompanied with >tated 
exercises in composition and elocution. In books of criticism, our language IB 
already more abundant than any other. Some of the best of these the student 
should peruse, as soon as he can understand and relish them. Such a course, 
pursued with regularity and diligence, will be found the most direct way of acquir- 
ing an English style at once pure, correct, and elegant. 

10. If any intelligent man will represent English grammar otherwise than as 
one of the most useful branches of study, he may well be suspected of having 
formed his conceptions of the science, not from what it really is in itself, but from 
some of those miserable treatises which only caricature the subject, and of which it 
is rather an advantage to be ignorant. But who is so destitute of good sense as to 
deny, that a graceful and easy conversation in the private circle, a fluent and 
agreeable delivery in public speaking, a ready and natural utterance in reading a 
pure and elegant style in composition, are accomplishments of a very high r.rd.-r? 
And yet of all these, the proper study of English grammar is the true foundation. 
This would never be denied or doubted, if young people did not find, under 
other name, better models and more efficient instruction, than what was practised 
on them for grammar in the school-room. No disciple of an able grammarian can 

ill of grammar, unless he belong to that class of knaves who vilify what 
they despair to reach. 

11. By taking proper advantage of the ductility of childhood, intelligent parents 
and judieious teachers may exercise over the studies, opinions, and habits of youth 

\% and salutary control ; and it will seldom be found in experience, that those 
who have been early taught to consider grammatical learning as worthy and manly, 
will change their opinion in after life. But the study of grammar is not so enticing 
that it may be disparaged in the hearing of the young, without injury. What 
would be the natural effect of the following sentence, which I quote from a late 
well- written religious homily? " The pedagogue and his dunce may exercise their 
wits correctly enough, in the way of grammatical analysis, on some splendid 
argument, or burst of eloquence, or thrilling descant, or poetic rapture, to the 
strain and soul of which not a fibre in their nature would yield a vibration." ^ >c- 

Obsen-cr, Vol. ix, p. 73. 

12. Would not the bright boy who heard this from the lips of his reverend 
minister, be apt the next day to grow weary of the parsing lesson required by his 
schoolmaster? And yet what truth is there in the passanv '.' One can no more 

"f the fitness of language, without regard to the meaning conveyed by it, 

:' a suit of clothes, without knowing for whom they were 

\ to tin- proper application of ill syntactical rules, is the 

y roiiip<,>ition '^ faulty which does not rightly deliver the author's 

ition of a woi-,1 ,r s.'ntenee i~ v erroneous, in which 

t!i;tt Il; -i'ully noticed and literally preserved. To parse rightly 

"d tY understand rightly >!-iin fuliv 

is well expressed, it is a shame either to misunderstand or 

ly conducted and liltenillv 

he be a man of refined literary 

.'. an I write his native lan^u;i-i- gnmi ticalljl \ndwho 
will deny tint ev -ry 
< mbelliM the \V'M ni;d uatu. 

:-o many distiuct and separable agents, which are usually brought into . 


by one ; and even if they were, there might be found, in a judicious prosecution 
of this study, a healthful employment for them all. The imagination, indeed, 
has nothing to do with the elements of grammar ; but in the exercise of composition, 
young fancy may spread her wings as soon as they are fledged ; and for this 
exercise the previous course of discipline will have furnished both language, 
taste, and sentiment. 

14. The regular grammatical study of our language is a thing of recent origin. 
Fifty or sixty years ago, such an exercise was scarcely attempted in any of the 
schools, either in this country or in England.* Of this fact we have abundant 
evidence both from books, and from the testimony of our venerable fathers yet 
living. How often have these presented this as an apology for their own deficien- 
cies, and endeavoured to excite us to greater diligence, by contrasting our 
opportunities with theirs ! Is there not truth, is there not power, in the appeal ? 
And are we not bound to avail ourselves of the privileges which they have provided, 
to build upon the foundations which their wisdom has laid, and to carry forward 
the work of improvement V Institutions can do nothing for us, unless the love of 
learning preside over and prevail in them. The discipline of our schools can never 
approach perfection, till those who conduct, and those who frequent them, are 
strongly actuated by that disposition of mind, which generously aspires to all 
attainable excellence. 

15. To rouse this laudable spirit in the minds of our youth, and to satisfy its 
demands whenever it appears, ought to be the leading objects with those to whom 
is committed the important business of instruction. A dull teacher, wasting time 
in a school-room with a parcel of stupid or indolent boys, knows nothing of the satis- 
faction either of doing his own duty, or of exciting others to the performance of 
theirs. He settles clown in a regular routine of humdrum exercises, dreading as an 
inconvenience even such change as proficiency in his pupils must bring on ; and 
is well content to do little good for little money, in a profession which he honoms 
with his services merely to escape starvation. He has, however, onu merit : he 
pleases his patrons, and is perhaps the only man that can ; for they must needs be 
of that class to whom moral restraint is tyranny, disobedience to teachers, as often 
right as wrong ; and who, dreading the expense, even of a school-book, always 
judge those things to be cheapest, which cost the least and last the longest. What 
such a man, or such a neighbourhood, may think of English grammar, I shall not 
stop to ask. 

16. To the following opinion from a writer of great merit, I am inclined to 
afford room here, because it deserves refutation, and, I am persuaded, is not so 
well founded as the generality of the doctrines with which it is presented to the 
public. ' Since human knowledge is so much more extensive than the opportunity 
of individuals for acquiring it, it becomes of the greatest importance so to economize 
the opportunity as to make it subservient to the acquisition of as large and as 
valuable a portion as we can. It is not enough to show that a given branch of 
education is useful : you must show that it is the most useful that can be selected. 
Remembering this, I think it would be expedient to dispense with the formal study 
of English grammar, a proposition which I doubt not many a teacher will hear 
with wonder and disapprobation. We learn the grammar in order that we may 
learn English ; and we learn English whether we study grammars or not. Espe- 
cially we shall acquire a competent knowledge of our own language, if other 
departments of our education were improved." 

17. " A boy learns more English grammar by joining in an hour's conversation 
with educated people, than in poring for an hour over Murray or Home Tooke. 


If he is accustomed to such society and to the perusal of well-written hooks, he 
will learn English grammar, though he nc\ word al>out syntax ; and if he 

i> H'.T :;e.-n>rnmed to such society and such reading, the ' grammar honks ' at a 
r boarding-school will not teach it. Men loam their own language by habit, and 
not by rata : ami this is just what we might expect ; for the grammar of a language 
is itself formed from the prevalent habits of speech and writing. A compiler of 
grammar thv thoe habits, and then makes his rules : but if a person is 

hiniM-lf familiar with the habits, why study the rules? I say nothing of grammar 
as a general science; because, although the philosophy of language be a valuable 
branch of human knowledge, it were idle to expect that school-boys should under- 
stand it. The objection is, to the system of attempting to teach children formally 
that which they will learn practically without teaching." JONATHAN UYMOND : 
Essay* nn Mnntlity.y. \ !.">. 

Iv This opinion, proceeding from a man who has written upon human affairs 
with o much ability and practical good sense, is perhaps entitled to as much respect 
as any that has ever been urged against the study in question. And so far as the 
Objection bears upon those defective methods of instruction which experience has 
shown to be inefficient, or of little use, I am in no wise concerned to remove it. 
The reader of this treatise will find their faults not only admitted, but to a great 
extent purpo- d : while an attempt is here made, as well as in mv earlier 

grammars, to introduce a method which it is hoped will better reach the end proposed. 
Hut it may easily ! : that thisauthor's proportion to dispense with the formal 

rhsfa '.rrammar is founded upon an untenable assumption. "Whatever 
may I Mirer habr- -h, which the young naturally 

ac<i rsation with educated people, it is not true, that, without instruc- 

1. they will of themselves become so well educated as to speak 

I and write grammatically. Their language may indeed be comparatively accurate and 
it is learned of those who have paid some attention to th" study; 
auiH't always be preserved from hearing vulgar and improper phrase- 
ing it in books, they cannot otherwise be guarded from improprieties 
n, than by a knowledge of the rules of grammar. One might easily back this 
by the citation of > M of faulty sentences from the pen of this very 

able writer him- 
here can be no mistake in the opinion, that in exact proportion 
a? T :imiar are unknown or ne-leeted in any country, will corruptions 

and improprieties of Ian. -in-iv multiplied. The " general science" of gram- 

mar, or the philosophy of language,'* the author seeius to exempt, and in some sort 
to commend ; and at the same time \\\< proposition of exclusion i> applied not 
M-hool-grammars. but a fnrtinri to this science, under the notion that 
I 'nit why should any principle of irrammar be 
account of the extent of its application? Will a boy pre- 
tend that lie r.-muMt understand a rule of English grammar, because he i< v>id that 
i* !' '' :i " ' :m j Ancient etymologies, and other facts in literary 

ing upon the cn-ditof him who states them : but 
irrammar are to the learner the easiest and th- most im- 
portant principles of the Ami I know of nothing ! the true phii, -<.|,!iyof 
gu.-o.:.'. which, by ]. roper definitions and examples, may not be mi -lli- 
M" MM principle.- of most other M-iences. The dihVulry of 
iii'jr youth in any thing that pertain^ to laniruaire. lies not so much in'the 
ct that its philosophy their rompreh,'n>i.,n. a> in our own i-imrance of 
n.jiiiry : in the -rear multiplicity of verbal signs; the 

frequent contrariety of practice; the in;id.-,|uacv of memory; tiie invi vracy of 
ill habi> ; and th- little interest that is felt when WO speak m'erely of v. 

.natical >tudy of our Luigr, ; rly and strongly recommended 


by Locke,* and other writers on education, whose character gave additional weight 
to an opinion which they enforced by the clearest arguments. But either for 
want of a good grammar, or for lack of teachers skilled in the subject and sensible 
of its importance, the general neglect so long complained of as a grievous imper- 
fection in our methods of education, has been but recently and partially obviated. 
" The attainment of a correct and elegant style," says Dr. Blair, "is an object 
which demands application and labour. If any imagine they can catch it merely 
by the ear, or acquire it by the slight perusal of some of our good authors, they 
will find themselves much disappointed. The many errors, even in point of 
grammar, the many offences against purity of language, which are committed by 
writers who are far from being contemptible, demonstrate, that a careful study of 
the language is previously requisite, in all who aim at writing it properly." 
Rhetoric, Lect ix, p. 91. 

21. "To think justly, to write well, to speak agreeably, are the three great ends 
of academic instruction. The Universities will excuse me, if I observe, that both 
are, in one respect or other, defective in these three capital points of education. 
While in Cambridge the general application is turned altogether on speculative 
knowledge, with little regard to polite letters, taste, or style ; in Oxford the whole 
attention is directed towards classical correctness, without any sound foundation laid 
in severe reasoning and philosophy. In Cambridge and in Oxford, the art of 
speaking agreeably is so far from being taught, that it is hardly talked or thought 
of. These defects naturally produce dry unaffecting compositions in the one ; 
superficial taste and puerile elegance in the other ; ungracious or affected speech 
in both." DR. BROWN, 1757 : Estimate, Vol. ii, p. 44. 

22. "A grammatical study of our own language makes no part of the ordinary 
method of instruction, which we pass through in our childhood ; and it is very 
seldom we apply ourselves to it afterward. Yet the want of it will not be effec- 
tually supplied by any other advantages whatsoever. Much practice in the polite 
world, and a general acquaintance with the best authors, are good helps ; but alone 
[they] will hardly be sufficient : We have writers, who have enjoyed these advan- 
tages in their full extent, and yet cannot be recommended as models of an accurate 
style. Much less then will, what is commonly called learning, serve the purpose ; 
that is, a critical knowledge of ancient languages, and much reading of ancient 
authors : The greatest critic and most able grammarian of the last age, when he 
came to apply his learning and criticism to an English author, was frequently at a 
loss in matters of ordinary use and common construction in his own vernacular 
idiom." DR LOWTH, 1763: Gram. p. vi. 

23. " To the pupils of our public schools the acquisition of their own language, 
whenever it is undertaken, is an easy task. For he who is acquainted with 
several grammars already, finds no difficulty in adding one more to the number. 
And this, no doubt, is one of the reasons why English engages so small a pro- 
portion of their time and attention. It is not frequently read, and is still less 
frequently written. Its supposed facility, however, or some other cause, seems to 
have drawn upon it such a degree of neglect as certainly cannot be praised. The 
students in those schools are often distinguished by their compositions in the 
learned languages, before they can speak or write their own with correctness, 
elegance, or fluency. A classical scholar too often has his English style to form, 

* " To Write and Speak correctly, give" a Grace, and .sains a favourable Attention to what one has to say ' 
And since 'tis English, that an English Gentleman will have constant use of, that is the Language he should 
chiefly Cultivate, and wherein most care should be taken to polish and perfect his Stile. To speak or write 
better Latin than English, may make a Man be talk'd of, but he would find it more to his purpose to Express 
himself well in his own Tongue, that he uses every moment, than to have the vain Commendation of others 
for a very insignificant quality. This I find universally neglected, and no care taken any where to improve 
Young Men in their own Language, that they may thoroughly understand and be Masters of it. If any one 
among us have a faciliiy or purity more than ordinary in his Mother Tongue, it is owing to Chance, or his 
Genius, or any thing, rather than to his Education or any care of his Teacher. To Min I what English his 
Pupil spi:;iks or wiitws is below the Dignity of one bred up amongst Greek and Latin, though he have but 
little of them himself. These are the learned Languages fit only for learned Men to meddle with and teach : 
English, is the Language of the illiterate Vulgar." Locke, on Education, p. 339; Fourth Ed., London, 1699. 


when ho should communicate his acquisitions to the world. In some instances it is 

never formed with success ; and the defects of his expression either deter him from 

ing before the public at all, or at least counteract in a great d<"_rrce the 

mfinenee of \\\* work, and bring ridicule upon the author. Surely these evils 

>r diminished." 1>R. BARROW : AW/y.s* on Education, 

London, 1S04; Philad.. 1^:,, p. 87. 

'24. "It is also said that those who know Latin and Greek Generally express 
with more clearness than those who do not receive a liberal education. 
It is inured natural that those who cultivate their mental powers, write with more 
clearnen than the uncultivated individual. The mental cultivation, however, may 
take place in the mother tongue as well as in Latin or Greek. Yet the spirit of 
the ancient languages, further is declared to be superior to that of the modern. I 
allow this to be the case ; but I do not find that the English style is improved by 
learning Greek. It is known that literal translations are miserably bad, and yet 

Smii-jr scholars are taught to translate, word for word, faithful to their dictionaries, 
those who do not make a peculiar study of their own language, will not 
improve in it by learning, in this manner, Greek and Latin. Is it not a pity to 
hear, what I have been told by the managers of one of the first institutions of 
Ireland, that it was easier to find ten teachers for Latin and Greek, than one for 
the KriL'li-h languaL" 1 , though they proposed double the salary to the latter ''. Who 
i- that the Greek orators acquired their superiority by their acquain- 
vith foreign languages ; or, is it not obvious, on the other hand, that they 
icm in their mother tongue? " DR. SPURZHEIM : 
1 v;-j, p. 107. 

\vere compiled, which comprised all the words, together with 

1 definitions, or the sense each one expresses and conveys to the mind. 

ra analyzed and cla-s d according to their essence, attributes, and 

made a rudiment leading to the principles of all thoughts, 

and teaching by simple examples, the general classification of words and their 
subdivisions in expressing the various conceptions of the mind. Grammar is then 
the key to the perfect understanding of languages ; without which we are left to 
wander all our lives in an intricate labyrinth, without being able to trace back 
again any part of our way." (..'hn~ - nj on the Teaching of Languages, 

:ain : " Had it not been for his dictionary and his grammar, which 
taught him T nf all languages, and the natural subdivision of their com- 

ponent parts, he might have spent a life as long as Methuselah's, in learning words, 
without being able to attain to a degree of perfection in any of the languages." 
lb- p- i-'od, it is not easy to say, to what degree, and in how many different 

memory and judgement may be improved by an intimate acquaintance 
with grammar ; which i< therefore, with good reason, made the first and funda- of literary education. 'I . the most elegant scholars, 

and th i men of business, that have appeared in the world, of 

whom T need only mention ( \-rsar and Cicero, were not only studious of grammar, 
rued grammarians."' DR. UKATTM: : M^nil >''/< //</>. Vol. i, p. 107. 
.f my work, I havo chosen to be liberal of 
of composition, but to give 
thor authority than my own. In commend- 
.rammar, I do not mean to discountenance that d 

ntion which in this country is paid to other 1:, but merely to 

' carry forward a work of improvement, which, in my 

opinion, has been \vi n, but not sufneiontly sustained. In consequence 

of tin- vent, the study of grammar, which was once prosecuted chiefly 

through the medium of the d rhe proper 

busings of th<>^' only who were t > ; -ted in Latin and (i reek, is now 

thought to be an appropriate exercise for children in elementary schools. And the 


sentiment is now generally admitted, that even those who are afterwards to learn 
other languages, may best acquire a knowledge of the common principles of 
speech from the grammar of their vernacular tongue. This opinion appears to 
be confirmed by that experience which is at once the most satisfactory proof of 
what is feasible, and the only proper test of what is useful. 

27. It must, however, be confessed, that an acquaintance with ancient and 
foreign literature is absolutely necessary for him who would become a thorough 
philologist or an accomplished scholar ; and that the Latin language, the source 
of several of the modern tongues of Europe, being remarkably regular in its inflec- 
tions and systematic in its construction, is in itself the most complete exemplar of 
the structure of speech, and the best foundation for the study of grammar 
in general. But, as the general principles of grammar are common to all 
languages, and as the only successful method of learning them, is, to commit to 
memory the definitions and rules which embrace them, it is reasonable to suppose 
that the language most intelligible to the learner, is the most suitable for the 
commencement of his grammatical studies. A competent knowledge of English 
grammar is also in itself a valuable attainment, which is within the easy reach of 
many young persons whose situation in life debars them from the pursuit of general 

28. The attention which has lately been give'n to the culture of the English 
language, by some who, in the character of critics or lexicographers, have la- 
boured purposely to improve it, and by many others who, in various branches of 
knowledge, have tastefully adorned it with the works of their genius, has in a 
great measure redeemed it from that contempt in which it was formerly held in the 
halls of learning. But, as I have before suggested, it does not yet appear to be 
sufficiently attended to in the course of what is called a liberal education. 
Compared with other languages, the English exhibits both excellences and defects ; 
but its flexibility, or power of accommodation to the tastes of different writers, is 
great ; and when it is used with that mastership which belongs to learning and 
genius, it must be acknowledged there are few, if any, to which it ought on the 
whole to be considered inferior. But above all, it is our own ; and, whatever we 
may know or think of other tongues, it can never be either patriotic or wise, for 
the learned men of the United States or of England to pride themselves chiefly 
upon them. 

29. Our language is worthy to be assiduously studied by all who reside where 
it is spoken, and who have the means and the opportunity to become critically 
acquainted with it. To every such student it is vastly more important to be able 
to speak and write well in English, than to be distinguished for proficiency in the 
learned languages and yet ignorant of his own. It is certain that many from 
whom better things might be expected, are found ntiserably deficient in this respect. 
And their neglect of so desirable an accomplishment is the more remarkable and 
the more censurable on account of the facility with which those who are acquainted 
with the ancient languages may attain to excellence in their English style. " What- 
ever the advantages or defects of the English language be, as it is our own language, 
it deserves a high degree of our study and attention. * * * Whatever knowledge 
may be acquired by the study of other languages, it can never be communicated 
with advantage, unless by such as can write and speak their own language well." 
DR. BLAIR: Rhetoric, Lect. ix, p. 91. 

30. I am not of opinion that it is expedient to press this study to much extent, 
if at all. on those whom poverty or incapacity may have destined to situations in 
which they will never hear or think of it afterwards. The course of nature can- 
not be controlled ; and fortune does not permit us to prescribe the same course of 
discipline for all. To speak the language which they have learned without study, 
and to read and write for the most common purposes of life, may be education 
enough for those who can be raised no higher. But it must be the desire of 


every benevolent and intelligent man, to see the advantages of literary, as \vcll 
moral culture, extended as far as possible among the people. And it is 
manir'e-r. that in proportion as the precepts of the divine Redeemer are obeyed 
by the nations that profess his name, will all distinctions arising merely from the 
inequality of fortune be lessened or done away, and better opportunities be offered 
for the children of indigence to adorn themselves with thctreasures of knowledge. 
31. We may not be able to effect all that is desirable ; but, favoured as our 
country is, with great facilities for carrying forward the work of improvement, in 
every thing which can contribute to national glory and prosperity, I would, in 
conclusion of . this topic, submit that a critical knowledge of our common 
language is a subject worthy of the particular attention of all who have the genius 
and the opportunity to attain it that on the purity and propriety with which 
American authors write this language, the reputation of our national literature 
greatly depends that in the preservation of it from all changes which ignorance 
may admit or affectation invent, we ought to unite as having one common interest 
that a fixed and settled orthography is of great importance, as a means of pre- 
serving the. etymology, history, and indentity of words that a grammar freed from 
errors and defects, and embracing a complete code of definitions and illustrations, 
rules and exercises, is of primary importance to every student and a great aid to 
teachers that as the vices of speech as well as of manners are contagious, it 
becomes those who have the care of youth, to be masters of the language in its 
purity and elegance, and to avoid as much as possible everything that is reprehen- 
sible either in thought or expression. 



" Quomo.ln .lift-runt grammaticus et grammatista ? Grammaticus eat qui diligenter, aouU-, sclenterque posait 
f 'li'.-v -.ctpoctasenarrarc : Mnn lin-ratus dici 

cui abusus pro < is Lutinaui dat etymologiam, 

Dtol'AUIEK. %H/. fol. 1. 

, , 

"f 'li'.-v -.ctpoctasenarrarc : Mnn lin-ratus dicitur. Grammatista est qui barbaris litoris ol. sin-pit, 

, et totus hi uugis eat: Latino dicitur literator." 

1 . It is hardly to be supposed that any person can have a very clear conviction 
of the best method of doini: a ihirig. who shall not first have acquired a pretty 
correct and adequate notion of the thing to be done. Arts must be taught by 
artists ; sciences, by learned men ; and, if Grammar is the science of words, the 
art of writing and speaking well, the best speakers and writers will be the best 
tra-her< i.f it, if they ehoose to direct their attention to so humble an employment. 
For, without disparagement of the many worthy men whom choice or necessity has 
made schoolmasters, it may !* admitted that the low estimation in which school- 
keeping is commonly held, does mostly exclude from it the first order of talents, 
and the highest acquirements of scholarship. It is one strong proof of this, that 
we have heretofore been content tn receive mir digests of English grammar, either 
from men who had had no practical experience in the labours of a school-room, or 
from miserable mndilii-rs and al.ridgers, destitute alike of learning and of industry, 
of judgement and of skill. 

'2. But, to have a correct and adequate notion of English grammar, and of the 
be>t method of learning r teaching it, is no light attainment. The critical 
knowledge of this subject lies in no narrow circle of observation ; nor are there 
any precise limits to possible improvement. The simple definition in which the 


general idea of the art is embraced, " Grammar is the art of writing and speaking 
correctly," however useful in order to fix the learner's conception, can scarcely 
give him a better knowledge of the thing itself, than he would have of the art of 
painting, when he had learned from Dr. Webster, that it is " the art of repre- 
senting to the eye, by means of figures and colors, any object of sight, and some- 
times emotions of the mind." The first would no more enable him to write a 
sonnet, than the second, to take his master's likeness. The force of this remark 
extends to all the technical divisions, definitions, rules, and arrangements of 
grammar ; the learner may commit them all to memory, and know but very little 
about the art. 

3. This fact, too frequently illustrated in practice, has been made the basis of 
the strongest argument ever raised against the study of grammar ; and has been 
particularly urged against the ordinary technical method of teaching it, as if the 
whole of that laborious process were useless. It has led some men, even of the 
highest talents, to doubt the expediency of that method, under any circumstances, 
and either to discountenance the whole matter, or to invent other schemes by 
which they hoped to be more successful. The utter futility of the old accidence 
has been inferred from it, and urged, even in some well-written books, with all the 
plausibility of a fair and legitimate deduction. The hardships of children, compelled 
to learn what they did not understand, have been bewailed in prefaces and reviews ; 
incredible things boasted by literary jugglers, have been believed by men of sense ; 
and the sympathies of nature, with accumulated prejudices, have been excited 
against that method of teaching grammar, which after all will be found in expe- 
rience to be at once the easiest, the shortest, and the best. I mean, essentially, the 
ancient positive method, which aims directly at the inculcation of principles. 

4. It has been already admitted, that definitions and rules committed to memory 
and not reduced to practice, will never enable any one to speak and write correctly. 
But it does not follow, that to study grammar by learning its principles, or to teach 
it technically by formal lessons, is of no real utility. Surely not. For the same 
admission must be made with respect to the definitions and rules of every practical 
science in the world ; and the technology of grammar is even more essential to a 
true knowledge of the subject, than that of almost any other art. " To proceed 
upon principles at first," says Dr. Barrow, " is the most compendious method of 
attaining every branch of knowledge ; and the truths impressed upon the mind in 
the years of childhood, are ever afterwards the most firmly remembered, and the 
most readily applied." Essays, p. 84. Reading, as I have said, is a part of 
grammar ; and it is a part which must of course precede what is commonly called 
in the schools the study of grammar. Any person who can read, can learn from 
a book such simple facts as are within his comprehension and we have it on the 
authority of Dr. Adam, that, " The principles of grammar are the first abstract 
truths which a young mind can comprehend." Pref. to Lot. Gram, p 4. 

5. It is manifest, that, with respect to this branch of knowledge, the duties of 
the teacher will vary considerably, according to the age and attainments of his 
pupils, or according to each student's ability or inclination to profit by his printed 
guide. The business lies partly between the master and his scholar, and partly 
between the boy and his book. Among these it may be partitioned variously, and 
of course unwisely ; for no general rule can precisely determine for all occasions 
what may be expected from each. The deficiencies of any one of the three must 
either be supplied by the extraordinary readiness of an other, or the attainment of 
the purpose be proportionably imperfect. What one fails to do, must either be done 
by an other, or left undone. After much observation, it seems to me, that the 
most proper mode of treating this science in schools, is, to throw the labour of its 
acquisition almost entirely upon the students ; to require from them very accurate 
rehearsals as the only condition on which they shall be listened to ; and to refer 
them to their books for the information which they need, and in general for the 


solution of all their doubts. But then the teacher must see that he does not set 
them to iiT'-pi- their way through a wilderness of absurdities, lit- must know that 
they have a hook, which not only contains the requisite information, but arranin B it 
so that every item of it may be readily found. That knowledge may n .:- -.nably 
be required at their recitations, which culpable negligence alone could have 
prevented them from obtaining. 

6. Most grammars, and especially those which are designed for the senior class 
of students, to whom a well-written book is a sufficient instructor, contain a large 
proportion of matter which is merely to be read by the learner. This is commonly 
distinguished in type from those more important doctrines which constitute the frame 
of the edifice. It is expected that the latter will receive a greater degree of 
attention. The only successful method of teaching grammar, is, to cause the 
principal definitions and rules to be committed thoroughly to memory, that they 
may ever afterwards be readily applied. Oral instruction may smoothe the way, 
and facilitate the labour of the learner; but the notion of communicating a competent 
knowledge of grammar without imposing this task, is disproved by universal expe- 
rience. Nor will it avail any thing for the student to rehearse definitions and rules 
of which he makes no practical application. In etymology and syntax, he should 
be alternately exercised in learning small portions of his book, and then applying 
them in parsing, till the whole is rendered familiar. To a good reader, the 
achievement will be neither great nor difficult ; and the exercise is well calculated 
to improve the memory and strengthen all the faculties of the mind. 

7. The objection drawn from the alleged inefficiency of this method, lies solely 
against the practice of those teachers who disjoin the principles and the exercises 
of the art ; and who, either through ignorance or negligence, impose only such 
tasks as leave the pupil to suppose, that the committing to memory of definitions and 
rules, constitutes the whole business of grammar.* Such a method is no less* absurd 
in itself, than contrary to the practice of the best teachers from the very origin of the 
study. The epistle prefixed to King Henry's Grammar almost three centuries 
ago, and the very sensible preface to the old British Grammar, an octavo reprinted 
at Boston in 17x4, give evidence enough that a better method of teaching has long 
been known. Nay, in my opinion, the very best method cannot be essentially 
different from that which lias been longest in use, and is probably most known. 
But there is everywhere ample room for improvement. Perfection was never 
attained by the most learned of our ancestors, nor is it found in any of our schemes. 
English grammar can be better taught than it is now, or ever has been. Better 
scholarship would naturally produce this improvement, and it is easy to suppose a 
race of teachers more erudite and more zealous, than either we or they* 

8. Where invention and discovery are precluded, there is little room for novelty. 
I have not laboured to introduce a system of grammar essentially new, but to im- 
prove the old and free it from abuses. The mode of instruction here recommended 
Ls the result of long and Mn-.-e^l'ul experience. There is nothing in it, which any 
person of common abilities will find it difficult to understand or adopt. It is the 
plain didactic method of definition and example, rule and praxis ; which no man who 
means to teach grammar well, will ever desert, with the hope of finding an other 

A late author. in upr.KM/imr fur his choiro in nublMiinjr a trrammar without forms of praxis, (that is. without 

any provision for a Kal ; . ijilrs b\ tin- lian.rr.) il.-.-cri) i-s the wlnl' 

n of tin- .U^io-a' ( .f a tViv'.- ' 

be only ' a finical 

.mar, .-ij)|ili( il iii any way 

to practice, could not fail .mug 

in _ unking this 

Miprr.-. .Ie > mem 

Of tli. > as.~ Tie. I in l':irk!iurflt ! 

!i the d.ilil a 

definition at tlu> out-et. i-= bei:ini.iiv_'at the ttn ->i;if. li with rc<| e<-r to nil rlia' px> under the name 

of c'\iiiol.i.'v in -niiiunai-. ir i- learned chiefly by practice in parsing, and scarcely at all by the aid of 
definitions.' 1 1'nfnce, pp. Sand 6. 


more rational or more easy. This book itself will make any one a grammarian, 
who will take the trouble to observe and practice what it teaches ; and even if 
some instructors should not adopt the readiest means of making their pupils familiar 
with its contents, they will not fail to instruct by it as effectually as they can by 
any other. A hope is also indulged, that this work will be particularly useful to 
many who have passed the ordinary period allotted to education. Whoever is 
acquainted with the grammar of our language, so as to have some tolerable skill 
in teaching it, will here find almost every thing that is true in his own instructions, 
clearly embraced under its proper head, so as to be easy of reference. And per- 
haps there are few, however learned, who, on a perusal of the volume, would not 
be furnished with some important rules and facts which had not before occurred to 
their own observation. 

9. The greatest peculiarity of the method is, that it requires the pupil to speak 
or write a great deal, and the teacher very little. But both should constantlj 
remember that grammar is the art of speaking and writing well ; an art which can 
no more be acquired without practice, than that of dancing or swimming And 
each should ever be careful to perform his part handsomely without drawling, 
omitting, stopping, hesitating, faltering, miscalling, reiterating, stuttering, hurrying, 
slurring, mouthing, misquoting, mispronouncing, or any of the thousand faults 
which render utterance disagreeable and inelegant. It is the learner's diction that 
is to be improved ; and the system will be found well calculated to effect that 
object ; because it demands of him, not only to answer questions on grammar, but 
also to make a prompt and practical application of what he has just learned. If 
the class be tolerable readers, and have learned the art of attention, it will not be 
necessary for the teacher to say much and in general he ought not to take up the 
time by so doing. He should, however, carefully superintend their rehearsals ; 
give the word to the next when any one errs ; and order the exercise in such a 
manner that either his own voice, or the example of his best scholars, may gradu- 
ally correct the ill habits of the awkward, till all learn to recite with clearness, 
understanding well what they say, and making it intelligible to others. 

10. Without oral instruction and oral exercises, a correct habit of speaking our 
language can never be acquired ; but written rules, and exercises in writing, are 
perhaps quite as necessary, for the formation of a good style. All these should 
therefore be combined in our course of English grammar. And, in order to 
accomplish two objects at once, the written doctrines, or the definitions and rules 
of grammar, should statedly be made the subject of a critical exercise in utter- 
ance ; so that the boy who is parsing a word, or correcting a sentence, in the 
hearing of others, may impressively realize, that he is then and there exhibiting his 
own skill or deficiency in oral discourse. Perfect forms of parsing and correcting 
should be given him as models, with the understanding that the text before him is 
his only guide to their right application. It should be shown, that in parsing any 
particular word, or part of speech, there are just so many things to be said of it, 
and no more, and that these are to be said in the best manner : so that whoever 
tells fewer, omits something requisite ; whoever says more, inserts something 
irrelevant ; and whoever proceeds otherwise, either blunders in point of fact, or 
impairs the beauty of the given expression. I rely not upon what are called 
"Parsing Tables" but upon the precise forms of expression which are given in 
the book for the parsing of the several sorts of words. Because the questions, or 
abstract directions, which constitute the common parsing tables, are less intelligible 
to the learner than a practical example ; and more time must needs be consumed 
on them, in order to impress upon his memory the number and the sequence of the 
facts to be stated. 

11. If a pupil happen to be naturally timid, there should certainly be no aus- 
terity of manner to embarrass his diffidence ; for no one can speak well, who feels 
afraid. But a far more common impediment to the true use of speech, is carelessness. 


He who speaks before a school, in an exercise of this kind, should be made to feel 
that he is bound by every consideration of Aspect for himself, or for those who 
hear him, to proceed with his explanation or rehearsal, in a ready, clear, and intel- 
ligible manner. It should be strongly impressed upon him, that the grand object 
of the whole business, is his own practical improvement ; that a habit of speaking 
clearly and agreeably, is itself one half of the great art of grammar ; that to be 
slow and awkward in parsing, is unpardonable negligence, and a culpable waste of 
time ; that to commit blunders in rehearsing grammar, is to .-peak i ;:<lly about the 
art of speaking well ; that his recitations must ever be limited to such things as 
he perfectly knows ; that he must apply himself to his book, till he can proceed 
without mistake ; finally, that he must watch and imitate the utterance of those 
who speak well, ever taking that for the best manner, in which there are the fewest 
things that could be mimicked* 

\'l. T ; exercise of parsing should be commenced immediately after the first 
lesson of etymology the lesson in which are contained the definitions of the ten 
parts of speech ; and should be carried on progressively, till it embraces all the 
doctrines which are applicable to it. If it be performed according to the order pre- 
scribed in the following work, it will soon make the student perfectly familiar with 
all the primary definitions and rules of grammar. It asks no aid from a dictionary, 
if the performer knows the meaning of the words he is parsing ; and very little 
from tin- teacher, if the forms in the grammar have received any tolerable share 
of attention. It requires just enough of thought to keep the rnind attentive to 
what the lips are uttering ; while it advances by such easy gradations and constant 
repetitions as leave the pupil utterly without excuse, if he does not know what to 
saj. Being neither wholly extemporaneous nor wholly rehearsed by rote, it has 
more dignity than a school-boy's conversation, and more ease than a formal recita- 

Ition, or declamation ; and is therefore an exercise well calculated to induce a habit 
of uniting correctness with fluency in ordinary speech a species of elocution as 
valuable as any other, f 

13. Thus would I unite the practice with the theory of grammar ; endeavouring 
express its principles with all possible perspicuity, purity, and propriety of dic- 
tion ; retaining, as necessary parts of the subject, those technicalities which the 
ipil must needs learn in order to understand the disquisitions of grammarians in 
general; adopting every important feature of that system of doctrines which ap- 
pears to have beni longest and most generally taught ; rejecting the multitudinous 
errors and inconsistencies with which unskillful hands have disgraced the science 
and perplexed the schools ; remodelling every ancient definition and rule which it 
i.- p'.ible to amend, in respect to style, or grammatical correctness; supplying the 
numeniu* and great deficiencies with which the most comprehensive treatises 

Hesitation 5n jp^rh may ari^e from very different causes. If we do not consider this, our efforts to 
remove it ervr, it may b OToreome b} proper treatment. "Stam- 

. for when the mind of tin 
.How him ro reflect upon his defect. he will talk without difficulty. 

- nnd. and the >lijjht manner in which the c. 

; .*o a drunken man can run. though he cannot walk or stand still." Gardiner's 
Music of \aturr, p. 30. 

" To think rifrhtly, is of knowledfre : to speak fluently, is of nature ; 
To read with profit, is of care ; but to write aptlv, is of practice." 

Book of Thoughts, p. 140. 

t " There i* nothing more becoming [to] a Grntlnnnn. or more useful in all the occurrences of life, than to 
be able, (.n n:u oeearioo, to speak well, and to tin- pnrpOM." lodt*, n E'/i/rntinn, ( 171 " !'' 
think I in many, who live upon tli. h 

the n.-mi< . dhoal 1 ' ' : much 

-Iv and perMi-isivHy in any business. Thi* I think not to be FO much their f ':.* 
of their edii.'.ri n Tli.-y have be. bat yet never teaght how to expresa them*elv< 

floiuely with their cMi-.-ue- o r p.-n in t '' ..y are al\\:i - if the namM Of the flgOM 

that (mi -'ios who uii in:, were the very rt and skill of 


but bit K.\ P \TTF.RNS, //// hnlit* nr, ;.',;/. nn-': 

J 189. The for orrecting which the following woi 

"patt'rnt." fur the per;""rn::in< e "f thee pnn ' -ught to be implicitly 

followed, by every one who means to be a ready and correct speaker on the&e subjects. 



published by earlier writers, are chargeable ; adapting the code of instruction to 
the present state of English literature, without giving countenance to any innova- 
tion not sanctioned by reputable use ; labouring at once to extend and to facilitate 
the study, without forgetting the proper limits of the science, or debasing its style 
by puerilities. 

14. These general views, it is hoped, will be found to have been steadily adhered 
to throughout the following work. The author has not deviated much from the 
principles adopted in the most approved grammars already in use ; nor has he 
acted the part of a servile copyist. It was not his design to introduce novelties, 
but to form a practical digest of established rules. He has not laboured to sub- 
vert the general system of grammar, received from time immemorial; but to 
improve upon it, in its present application to our tongue. That which is excellent, 
may not be perfect ; and amendment may be desirable, where subversion would 
be ruinous. Believing that no theory can better explain the principles of our 
language, and no contrivance afford greater facilities to the student, the writer has 
in general adopted those doctrines which are already best known; and has content- 
ed himself with attempting little more than to supply the deficiencies of the sys- 
tem, and to free it from the reproach of being itself ungrammatical. This indeed 
was task enough ; for, to him, all the performances of his predecessors seemed 
meagre and greatly deficient, compared with what he thought needful to be done. 
The scope of his labours has been, to define, dispose, and exemplify those doctrines 
anew ; and, with a scrupulous regard to the best usage, to offer, on that authority, 
some further contributions to the stock of grammatical knowledge. 

15. Having devoted many years to studies of this nature, and being conversant 
with most of the grammatical treatises already published, the author conceived 
that the objects above referred to, might be better effected than they had been in 
any work within his knowledge. And he persuades himself, that, however this 
work may yet fall short of possible completeness, the improvements here offered 
are neither few nor inconsiderable. He does not mean to conceal in any degree 
his obligations to others, or to indulge in censure without discrimination. He has 
no disposition to depreciate the labours, or to detract from the merits, of those wl 
have written ably upon this topic. He has studiously endeavoured to avail hii 
self of all the light they have thrown upon the subject. With a view to furth( 
improvements in the science, he has also resorted to the original sources of grami 
ical knowledge, and has not only critically considered what he has seen or heard 
our vernacular tongue, but has sought with some diligence the analogies of speec 
in the structure of several other languages. If, therefore, the work now furnishec 
be thought worthy of preference, as exhibiting the best method of teaching grai 
mar ; he trusts it will be because it deviates least from sound doctrine, while, b] 
fair criticism upon others, it best supplies the means of choosing judiciously. 

16. Of all methods of teaching grammar, that which has come nearest to wl 
is recommended above, has doubtless been the most successful ; and whatev( 
objections may have been raised against it, it will probably be found on examine 
tion to be the most analogous to nature. It is analytic in respect to the doctrines 
of grammar, synthetic in respect to the practice, and logical in respect to both. 
It assumes the language as an object which the learner is capable of conceiving to 
be one whole ; begins with the classification of all its words, according to certain 
grand differences which make the several parts of speech ; then proceeds to divide 
further, according to specific differences and 'qualities, till all the classes, properties, 
and relations, of the words in any intelligible sentence, become obvious and 
determinate : and he to whom these things are known, so that he can see at a 
glance what is the construction of each word, and whether it is right or not, is a 
good grammarian. The disposition of the human mind to generalize the objects of 
thought, and to follow broad analogies in the use of words, discovers itself early, 
and seems to be an inherent principle of our nature. Hence, in the language of 


children and illi; ';>le, many words are regularly inflected even in opposi- 

tion to the most common u- 

17. It has unfortunately become fashionable to inveigh against the necessary 
lab-air of learning by heart the essential principle* df grammar, MS a u-c]<- and 
intolerable drudgery. And this notion, with the vain hope of effecting the same 
purpose in an easier way, is giving countenance to modes of teaching well calcu- 
lated to make superficial scholars. When those principles are properly defined, 
dis|io>ed. and exemplified, the labour of learning them is far less than has been 
i ; and the habits of application induced by such a method of studying 
grammar, are of the utmost importance to the learner. Experience shows, that 

-k may be achieved during the years of childhood ; and that, by an early 
habit of study, the memory is so improved, as to render those exercises easy and 
familiar, which, at a later period, would be found very difficult and irksome. 

his plan, and perhaps upon every other, some words will be learned before 
the id- nted by them are fully comprehended, or the things spoken of are 

fully understood. But this seems necessarily to arise from the order of nature in 
the development of the mental faculties; and an acquisition cannot be lightly 

.-d, which has signally augmented and improved that faculty on which the 
pupil's future progress in knowledge depends. 

The memory, indeed, should never be cultivated at the expense of the 
understand; when the former is tasked with ill-devised lessons 

by which the latter is misled and bewildered. But truth, whether fully conipre- 

i or not, has no perplexing inconsistencies. And it is manifest that that 
which does not in some respect surpass the understanding, can never enlighten 
it can never awaken the spirit of inquiry or satisfy research. How often have 
men of ob.-ervation profited by the remembrance of words which, at the time they 
heard them, they did not " prrfi-rtly understand! " We never study anything of 
which we imagine our knowledge to be perfect. To learn, and, to understand, are, 
with respect to any science or art, one and the same thing. With respect to 
difficult or unintelligible phraseology alone, are they different. He who by study 
has oncfe stored his memory with the sound and appropriate language of any 
important doctrine, can never, without some folly or conceit akin to madness, 
repent of the acquisition. Milton, in his academy, professed to teach tilings rather 
than words; and many others have made plausible profession of the same thing 
But it does not appear, that even in the hands of Milton, the attempt was 
crowned with any remarkable success. See Dr. Barrow's Essays, p. 85. 

l^. The vain pretensions of several modern simplifiers, contrivers <>f machines, 
charts, tallies, diagrams, vincula, pictures, dialogues, familiar lectures, ocular 
: ular compendium*, inductive exercises, productive systems, intellect- 
ual methods, and various new theories, for the purpose of teaching grammar, may 
the ignorant, to amuse the visionary, and to excite (lie admiration 
of the <-n-dulous ; but none ,,f these things has any favourable relation to that 
improvement which may justly be boasted as having taken phu-e within the 
memory of the present generation. The definitions and rules which constitute the 
doctrines of grammar, may he variously expressed, arranged, illustrated, and 
applied ; and in the expre>Mon, arrangement, illustration, and application of them, 
lie amendment ; but no contrivance can ever relieve the 
pupil from the ni-.-i-->ity of committing them thoroughly to memory. The expe- 

"f all antiquity isadded to our own, in confirmation of this ; and the judicious 
teacher, though he will not shut his eyes to a real improvement. iriU 1 6 Cautious 
of renouncing the practical lessons of hoary experience, for the futile notions of a 
vain projector. 

-0. Some have been beguiled with the idea, that great proficiency in grammar 
was to be made by means of a certain fanciful method of inunction. But if the 
scheme does not communicate to those who are instructed by it, a better knowledge 


of grammar than the contrivers themselves seem to have possessed, it will be found 
of little use.* By the happy method of Bacon, to lead philosophy into the 
common walks of life, into the ordinary business and language of men, is to 
improve the condition of humanity ; but, in teaching grammar, to desert the plain 
didactic method of definition and example, rule and praxis, and pretend to lead 
children by philosophic induction into a knowledge of words, is to throw down the 
ladder of learning, that boys may imagine themselves to ascend it, while they are 
merely stilting over the low level upon which its fragments are cast. 

21. The chief argument of these inductive grammarians is founded on the prin- 
ciple, that children cannot be instructed by means of any words which they do nofc 
perfectly understand. If this principle were strictly true, children could never be 
instructed by words at all. For no child ever fully understands a word the first 
time he hears or sees it ; and it is rather by frequent repetition and use, than by 
any other process, that the meaning of words is commonly learned. Hence most 
people make use of many terms which they cannot very accurately explain, just as 
they do of many things, the real nature of which they do not comprehend. The 
first perception we have of any word, or other thing, when presented to the ear or 
the eye, gives us some knowledge of it. So to the signs of thought, as older persons 
use them, we soon attach some notion of what is meant ; and the difference between 
this knowledge, and that which we call an understanding of the word or thing, is, 
for the most part, only in degree. Definitions and explanations are doubtless 
highly useful, but induction is not definition, and an understanding of words may 
be acquired without either ; else no man could ever have made a dictionary. But, 
granting the principle to be true, it makes nothing for this puerile method of induc- 
tion ; because the regular process by definitions and examples is both shorter and 
easier, as well as more effectual. In a word, this whole scheme of inductive grammar 
is nothing else than a series of leading questions and manufactured answers ; the 
former being generally as unfair as the latter are silly. It is a remarkable tissue 
of ill-laid premises and of forced illogical sequences. 

22. Of a similar character is a certain work, entitled, " English Grammar on 
the Productive System : a method of instruction recently adopted in Germany anc 
Switzerland." It is a work which certainly will be "productive " of no good 
any body but the author and his publishers. The book is as destitute of taste, 
of method; of authority, as of originality. It commences with "the indvctii 
process," and after forty pages of such matter as is described above, becomes 
"productive system," by means of a misnamed " RECAPITULATION ; " which jumble 
together the etymology and the syntax of the language, through seventy-six pages 
more. It is then made still more "productive" by the appropriation of a like 
space to a reprint of Murray's Syntax and Exercises, under the inapproprir*" 
title, "GENERAL OBSERVATIONS." To Prosody, including punctuation and t 
use of capitals, there are allotted six pages, at the end ; and to Orthography, foi 
lines, in the middle of the volume ! (See. p. 41.) It is but just, to regard the titl 
of this book, as being at once a libel and a lie ; a libel upon the learning and gooi 
sense of Woodbridge ;f and a practical lie, as conveying a false notion of the origii 
of what the volume contains. 

23. What there is in Germany or Switzerland, that bears any resemblance 
this misnamed system of English Grammar, remains to be shown. It would be 
prodigal of the reader's time, and inconsistent with the studied brevity of this work, 
to expose the fallacy of what is pretended in regard to the origin of this new method, 
Suffice it to say, that the anonymous and questionable account of the " Productive 

* The principal claimants of " the Inductire Method " of Grammar, are Richard W. Green, Roswell C. 
Smith, John L. Parkhurst, Dyer H. Sanborn, Bradford Frazee, and Solomon Barrett, Jr. ; a set of writers, 
differing indeed iu their qualifications, but in general not a little deficient in what constitutes an accurate 

t William C. Woodbridge edited the Journal, and probably wrote the article, from which the author of 
" English Grammar on the Productive System " took his " Preface." 


System of Instruction," which the author has borrowed from a " valuable periodical,'* 

to save himself the trouble of writing a preface, and, as he says, to " assist [the 

reader] in forming an opinion of the comparative merits of the system" is not 

onlv destitute of all authority, but is totally irrelevant, except to the whimsical 

nn me of his book. If every word of it be true, it is insufficient to give us even 

:t-on to suppose, that any thing analogous to his production ever had 

nee in either of those countries; and yet it is set forth on purpose to convey 

the idea that such a system " nmr jti-i'dnmimiti-s " in the schools of both. (See 

Pref. p. 5.) The infidel Neef, whose new method of education has been tried in 

our country, and with its promulgator forgot, was an accredited disciple of this 

productive school ;" a zealous coadjutor with Pestalozzi himself, from 

- halls lie emanated to "teach the offspring of a free people" to teach them 

the nature of tilings sensible, and a contempt for all the wisdom of books. And 

whnt similarity is there between his method of teaching and that of Roswell Q. 

'". except their pretence to a common parentage, and that both are worthless? 

'1\. The success of Smith's Inductive and Productive Grammars, and the fame 

perhaps of a certain " Grammar in Familiar Lectures," produced in 1-SM a rival 
work from the hands of a gentleman in New Hampshire, entitled, " An Analytical 
Grammar of the English Language, embracing the Inductive and Productive 
'.uls of Ti<-Iti)Kj, with Fiiniilitir Er/,l,i,ii(t!oits in the Lecture Style" &c. 
This is a fair-looking duodecimo volume of three hundred pages, the character and 
pretensions of which, if they could bo clearly stated, would throw further light 
up'n the two fallacious schemes of teaching mentioned above. For the writer says, 
" Thi- grammar pi botn the In>lnctir<> and Product', ,-, methods 

of imparting instruction, of which much has been said within a few years past" 
>. p. iv. And again : " The inductive and productive methods of instruo- 
itain the essence of modern improvements." Gram. p. 139. In what 
D improvements con>ist. he does not inform us; but, it will be seen, 
n he himself claims the rojti/rit/bt of ft/I the improvements which he allows to 
/ since the appearance of Murray in 1795. More than two 
hundred pretenders to such improvements, appear however within the time ; nor 
is the grammarian of lIoidtraTe the least positive of the claimants. This new 
purveyor for the public taste. dislikes the catering of his predecessor, who poached 
l^lds of .Murray ; and, with a tacit censure upon his productions, has honestly 
bou/lit nie raivties which he has served up. In this he has the advantage. He 
tier writer ton than some who make grammars; though no adept at compo- 
.ud a total stranirer to method. To call his work a " $i/sf<-//t," is a palpable 
mi-iioi: ! what it is, an impossibility. It is a grammatical chaos, heaiing 

dilance to Smith's or Kirkham's as one mass of confusion naturally 
i an oth<-r, yet di tiering from both in almost every thing that looks like 
in any of the three. 

J."). Tli" claimant of the combination says, " this new system of English gram- 

>. the public, embruees tin- principles of a ' Systematic Introduction 

mar,' by Ji-lm L. I'arkhur-t : and \\\v prwnt <uit]<n ; is indebted 

to Mr. I'arkhurst for a kno\vled;je of the. nm/utcr of applying the principles involved 

in hit />"-?i'<ir iiii'tjn- ammatical science. He is also under obliga- 

Mr. I'arkhurst for many useful hints received several years siii;-e while 

under his instruction. The <-<>)>>i rinlil of 1'arkhurst's Grammar ha- ! '>! purchased 

by the writer of this, who alone is responsible for the present application of its 

Parkhi induction to English tJrammar has 

through two editions, and i- improved system of Knglish grammar fcl 

ton- the publi-- <!n,'fiinnti Lindley Murray's KnLrli.-h 

" S'lH'lioi'n's < . p. iii. AVhat, then, is " Tin: I'uoi 

\\''." and with whom did it . . The thousands of -T--SS blunders 

couimitted by its professors, prove at least that it is no system of writing grammat- 


ically ; and, whether it originated with Parkhurst or with Pestalozzi, with Sanborn 
or with Smith, as it is confessedly a method but "recently adopted," and, so far 
as appears, never fairly tested, so is it a method that needs only to be known, to be 
immediately and forever exploded. 

26. The best instruction is that which ultimately gives the greatest facility and 
skill in practice ; and grammar is best taught by that process which brings its 
doctrines most directly home to the habits "as well as to the thoughts of the pupil 
which the most effectually conquers inattention, and leaves the deepest impress of 
shame upon blundering ignorance. In the language of some men, there is a 
vividness, an energy, a power of expression, which penetrates even the soul of 
^dullness, and leaves an impression both of words unknown and of sentiments unfelt 
before. Such men can teach ; but he who kindly or indolently accommodates 
himself to ignorance, shall never be greatly instrumental in removing it. " The 
colloquial barbarisms of boys," says Dr. Barrow, " should never be suffered to pass 
without notice and censure. Provincial tones and accents, and all defects in articu- 
lation, should be corrected whenever they are heard ; lest they grow into established 
habits, unknown, from their familiarity, to him who is guilty of them, and adopted 
by others, from the imitation of his manner, or their respect for his authority." 
Barrow's Essays on Education, p. 88. 

27. In the whole range of school exercises, there is none of greater importance 
than that of parsing ; and yet perhaps there is none which is, in general, more de- 
fectively conducted. Scarcely less useful, as a means of instruction, is the practice 
of correcting false syntax orally, by regular and logical forms of argument ; nor 
does this appear to have been more ably directed towards the purposes of discipline. 
There is so much to be done, in order to effect what is desirable in the management 
of these things ; and so little prospect that education will ever be generally raised 
to a just appreciation of that study which, more than all others, forms the mind to 
habits of correct thinking ; that, in reflecting upon the state of the science at the 
present time, and upon the means of its improvement, the author cannot but sympa- 
thize, in some degree, with the sadness of the learned Sanctius ; who tells us, that 
he had " always lamented, and often with tears, that while other branches of learning 
were excellently taught, grammar, which is the foundation of all others, lay so 
much neglected, and that for this neglect there seemed to be no adequate remedy." 
Pref. to Minerva. The grammatical use of language is in sweet alliancevsvith the 
moral ; and a similar regret seems to have prompted the following exclamation of 
the Christian poet : 

" Sacred Interpreter of human thought, 
How few respect or use thee as they ought !" COWPER. 

28. No directions, either oral or written, can ever enable the heedless and the 
unthinking to speak or write well. That must indeed be an admirable book, 
which can attract levity to sober reflection, teach thoughtlessness the true meaning 
of words, raise vulgarity from its fondness for low examples, awaken the spirit 
which attains to excellency of speech, and cause grammatical exercises to be skill- 
fully managed, where teachers themselves are so often lamentably deficient in them. 
Yet something may be effected by means of better books, if better can be intro- 
duced. And what withstands? Whatever there is of ignorance or error in rela- 
tion to the premises. And is it arrogant to say there is much ? Alas ! in regard 
to this, as well as to many a weightier matter, one may too truly affirm, Malta 
non sunt sicut multis vidcntur Many things are not as they seem to many. 
Common errors are apt to conceal themselves from the common mind ; and the 
appeal to reason and just authority is often frustrated, because a wrong head 
defies both. But, apart from this, there are difficulties : multiplicity perplexes 
choice ; inconvenience attends change ; improvement requires effort ; conflicting 
theories demand examination ; the principles of the science are unprofitably dis- 




puted ; the end is often divorced from the means ; and much that belies the title, 
has been published under the name. 

29. Ir is certain, that the printed formularies most commonly furnished for the 
import.-n.- ta of parsing and corr- f;n^. are either so awkwardly written or 
so negligently followed, as to make grammar, in the mouths of our juvenile orators, 
little els<- than a crude and faltering jargon. Murray evidently intended that his 
book of -hould be constantly used with his grammar; but ho made the 
example^ in the former so dull and prolix, that few learners, if any, have ever gone 
through the series agreeably to his dhvrion. The pubUflbrag of them in a sepa- 
rate volume, has probably given rise to the absurd practice of endeavouring to 
teach his grammar without them. The forms of parsing and correcting which this 
author furnishes, are also misplaced ; and when found by the learner, are of little 
use. They are so verbose, awkward, irregular, and deficient, that the pupil must 
be either a dull boy or utterly ignorant of grammar, if he cannot express the facts 
extemporaneously in better English. They are also very meagre as a whole, and 
altogether inadequate to their purpose ; many things that frequently occur in the 
language, not being at all exemplified in them, or even explained in the grammar 
itself. When we consider how exceedingly important it is, that the business of a 
school should proceed without loss of time, and that, in the oral exercises here 
spoken of, each pupil should go through his part promptly, clearly, correctly, and 
fully, we cannot think it a light objection that these forms, so often to be repeated, 
are badly written. Nor does the objection lie against this writer only : Ab uno 
disce omncs. But the reader may demand some illustrations.* 

30. First. from his etymological parsing : "O Virtue ! how amiable thou art ! " 
Here his form for the word ///'/< is "Virtue is a common substantive, of 
the M 'ider, of the third person, in- the singular number, and the nomi- 
nativ Miir. Gram. 8vo, ii, p. 2. Tt should have been " Virtue is a 
common noun, personified proper, of the second person, singular number, femi- 
nine gender, and nominative case." And then the definitions of all these things 
should have followed in regular numerical order. He gives the class of this noun 
wrong, for virtue addressed becomes an individual ; he gives the gender wrong, 
and in direct contradiction to what he says of the word in his section on gender ; 
he gives tip- person wrong, as may be seen by the pronoun thou, which represents 
it ; he repeats the definite article three times unnecessarily, and inserts two need- 
less preposirions, making them different where the relation is precisely the same : 
and all this, in a sentence of two lines, to tell the properties of the noun Virtue ! 
But further : in etymological parsing, the definitions explaining the properties of 

* Many other grammars, later than Murray'?. hr\n> boon published, some in En pi ami, some in America, 
and Bonn mtrirs: and amon^r ilu-c v- !: re. I think, a few in which a little improvement has 

In most, however, nothing 
of thr kin-l ''<!< '. And. of the formularies which han nt I hav seen, 

'. :ind worth \ 

entirely dc-- 
iiiivion the b 

are ctill 

worths t 

accunite. and full : such as 
one would !>. 

pie. the seven paj;> 

more than one '. n paragi 

a man 
Form : 

rosed in tin- ] < ir;i'_T;ip!i above: while 
HUTS] "-. and 

.Tinted. In lieu of forms of expi 
r protirabh tai an experienced 

. for the ignorant pupil to 

toul btins 

Lord B ' f B 
you in rh.- 
of t-i - 

are the models fun 

vi could not fully c 

\ I'rii'-tir.-il Grammar of the I!; dish Lan- 
pp. 4'J to 57. I rannot consent to nuota 

;i : 4'.- contain. Yet the author is 

d, m\ soul! -: 


>. Of tin- 1 to, ! must r i "7. The itnper- 

'nd has no >i. 
author should !>.' 

. found in the 

e, several 
it. ^t inuc 

M, flu ' ,,',. :r: 1 other ;-.te 


the parts of speech, ought to be regularly and rapidly rehearsed by the pupil, till 
all of them become perfectly familiar ; and till he can discern, with the quickness 
of thought, what alone will be true for the full description of any word in any 
intelligible sentence. All these the author omits ; and, on account of this omis- 
sion, his whole method of etymological parsing is miserably deficient.* 

31. Secondly from his syntactical parsing : " Vice degrades us." Here his 
form for the word Vice is " Vice is a common substantive, of the third person, in 
Hie singular number, and the nominative case." Mur. Gram. 8vo, ii, p. 9. Now, 
when the learner is told that this is the syntactical parsing of a noun, and the 
other the etymological, he will of course conclude, that to advance from the ety- 
mology to the syntax of this part of speech, is merely, to omit the gender this 
being the only difference between the two forms. But even this difference had 
no other origin than the compiler's carelessness in preparing his octavo book of 
exercises the gender being inserted in the duodecimo. And what then ? Is the 
syntactical parsing of a noun to be precisely the same as the etymological? Never. 
But Murray, and all who admire and follow his work, are content to parse many 
words by halves making, or pretending to make, a necessary distinction, and yet 
often omitting, in both parts of the exercise, every thing which constitutes the 
difference. He should here have said ** Vice is a common noun, of the third person, 
singular number, neuter gender, and nominative case : and is the subject of degrades; 
according to the rule which says, ' A noun or a pronoun which is the subject of a 
verb, must be in the nominative case.' Because the meaning is vice degrades" 
This is the whole description of the word, with its construction ; and to say less, 
is to leave the matter unfinished. 

82. Thirdly from his " Mode of verbally correcting erroneous sentences : " 
Take his first example: "The man is prudent which speaks little." (How far 
silence is prudence, depends upon circumstances : I waive that question.) The 
learner is here taught to say, " This sentence is incorrect ; because which is a pro- 


*0f Dr. Bullions's forms of parsing, as exhibited in his English Grammar, which is a modification of 
Die's Grammar, it is difficult to say, whether they are most remarkable for their deficiencies, their redui 
cies, or their contrariety to other teachings of the same author or authors. Both Lennie and Bullions adopt 
the rule, that, " An ellipsis is not nUowab'f when it would obscure the sentence, weaken its force, or be 
attended witli an impropriety." L. p. 91 ; B. p. 130. And the latter strengthens this doctrine with several 
additional observations, the first of which reads thus: " In general, no word shonld br oinittul that is nei 
sary to the full and correct construction, or even harmony of a sentence." Bullions, E. Gr. 130. Now 
parsing above alluded to, has been thought particularly commendable for its brevity a quality certai 
desirable, so far as it consists with the end of parsing, or with the more needful properties of a good sty 
clearness, accuracy, ease, and elegance. But, if the foregoing rule and observation are true, the models fu 
Dished by these writers are not commendably brief, but miserably defective. Their brevity is, in fact, sue 
as renders them all bad Eitx/ish : and not only so, it makes them obviously inadequate to their purpose, as 
bringing into use but a part of the principles which the learner has studied. It consists only in the omission 
of what ought, to have been inserted. For example, this short line, "/ lean H/KHI tin Lorrf," ia parsed by 
both of these gentlemen thus: "I, the first personal pronoun, masculine, or feminine, singular, tin nomina- 
tive lean, a verb, -m ut/r, first person singular, present, indicative upon, a .proposition ////, an article, the 
definite Lord, a noun, masculine, singular, the objective, (governed by i(pon.)"--J^ nun';- /';////// /, \ o /'Eng- 
lish Grain, p. 51 ; Bullions's, 74. This is a little sample of their etymological parsing, in which exercise 
they generally omit nor, only all the definitions or " reasons " of the various terms applied, bur also all the 
following particulars : first, the verb is, and certain definitives and connerlin-s, which are '' necessary to the 
full and correct construction " of their sentences ; secondly, the distinction of nouns as proper or common; 
thirdly, the />erxon of n<mns, first, second, or third; fourthly, the words, tuniihi r. / ,id> r. and case, which are 
and construction of certain words used ; fifthly, the distinction of adjectives as belonging 

to iHJ/'trtiit. classes; sixthly, the division of verbs as being r^n/nror imi>;iilar, rrrfimdaiit or r/,f<ctii-> : seventh- 
ly, sometimes, (Lennie excepted.) the division of verbs as n/th-e, pasxire, or neuter; eighthly, the words mood 

and tense, which Bullions, on page 131. pronounces " quite unnecessary," and inserts in his own formule on 
page 132 ; ninMih , the distinction of adverbs as expressing tim> , /i/m-f, degree, or wanner ; tenthly. the ri-tino- 

hstly, the distinction of interjections as indicating 

emotions. All these things does their completest specimen of etymological parsing lack, while it i< urossly en- 
cumbered \vi;h parentheses of syntax, which "///.sV I," <,iitt/d till the pupil got thv ndf* of syn;ax " /.untie., 
p. ;"1. It is also vitiated with several absurdities, contradictions, and improper changes of expression: as, 
"7/ ; .s, the tl,lfil -,1111111 : (B. ]>. &{ :) tin . tin first p> rsoiial pro/ionn ; "' ( Id. 74 :) " .!. The in- 

definite article ;" ( /'/. 13;) "c/, an article, the 'indefinite : ''(Id. 74:)" \Vhen the * t* passive, parse thus: 
xtive, in the p,i>~ive voice, regular, irregular J c." Bid.Ho/is, p. 131. In stead of leaching sufficiently, 
as elements of etymological paring, the definitions which belong to this exercise, and then dismissing them for 
the prim- \. Dr. Bullions enemnhers hi- method of syntactical parsing with sue;, ;i series of ety- 

mologic;! urera a-- e.-umot. but, make it one of the slowest, longes;, amd most tiresome ever 

invented, lie thinks that the pupil, after parsing any word syntactically, " M d to axxi'xn a 

'i:i>ii it/.''- Pr/ni pi s nf't''. (1 raiiiniar. p 131. And the teacher fa 
Juch i- tin- of a text-book which has ln-en pronounced 

' superior to any other, for vise in our common schools ; ' ' a ct>mj>li t, grammar of the 1 I ncaiLa- 

ble for eviry purpose, for which Mr. Brown's can possibly be used. ;! Ralph A. Finch's LLtport, p. 12. 


noun f f/,r nnitcr vender, an>f t/or$ not agree in gender with its antecedent man, 
whirl) is masculine. But a pronoun should agree with its 'antecedent in gender, 
&c. :i to the fifth rule of syntax. Wln'rh should therefore be -ic/to, a 

relative pronoun, agreeing with its antecedent man ; and the sentence ,-hould 
stand t!i , - ::ian is prudent >//<'/ speaks little.' " Murray's (Jrfaro Gram. 

ii, p. l x ; A'./v/Wv.s, I'Jmo, p. xii. Again: "'After 1 visited Kurope, 1 re- 
tunu'd t-i America.' This sentence," says Murray, " is not cornH ; U cause the 
verl in the imperfect tense, and yet used here to express an action, not 

only past, but prior to the time referred to by the verb returned, to which it re- 
K\ the thirteenth rule of syntax, when verbs are used that, in point of 
time, relate to each other, the order of time should be observed. The imperfect tense 
>iild therefore have been had visited, in the pluperfect tense, representing 
th- action of riaiting, not only as past, but also as prior to the time of returning. 
Tin orrected would stand tl>us :\ "After I had visited Europe, I returned 

to AiiM : ; < ..' " Or. ii, p. 19 ; and A'.r. r2mo, p. xii. These are the first two ex- 
amples of Murray's verbal corrections, and the only ones retained by Alger, in his 
iinjiron </. rc<*t > jnj- righted edition of Murray's Exercises. Yet, in each of them, is 
..ntation palpably raise ! In the former, truly, which should be who; 
but not because ir/ii'c/t is " of the neuter gender ; " but because the application of 
that rcla" is now nearly obsolete. Can any grammarian forget that, 

in speaking of brute animals, male or female, we commonly use which, and never 
i; ir if H'/iirh muvt needs he iH'i't^r, the world is wrong in this. As for 
the i uple, it is right as it stands: and the correction is, in some sort, 

tautological. The conjunctive adverb ai't<-r makes one of the actions subsequent 

>'/('/ all the priority that is signified by the plu- 
-ited Europe," is equivalent to " When I had visited 
The whole argument is therefore void.* 

These few brief illustrations, out of thousands that might be adduced in 
proof of the faultiness of the common manuals, the author has reluctantly intro- 
duced. to vhow that even in the most popular books, with all the pretended ira- 
revisers, the grammar of our language has never been treated with 
that care and ability which its importance demands. It is hardly to be supposed 
that men unu>ed to a teacher's duties, can be qualified to compose such books as 
will most facilitate his labours. Practice is a better pilot than theory. And while, 
in re tmmar, the consciousness of failure is constantly inducing changes 

from one system to an other, and almost daily giving birth to new expedients as 
nd in the same disappointment; perhaps the practical instructions of 
long and assiduously devoted to the study, may approve 

*'!'!: 1>ci Irs Murriv ati.l Al^or, who ?of>m not to have observed the Importof 

I ir. on P.-IL:.' l:i:trh of hi-; Ki,_ I the 

1 William Harvey Wells, 

i.ove cited. 

:nis thus : In "''< u,ti . ' <, we 

: thus, in- 

stead of 8<t *<lrd 

I I'l'i'M thi 'uent 

. i ad 

i " 




>o we BC 






un iifttr J_A'ni-/H'/ the letter."" soon aj't:r i: f 


themselves to many, as seasonably supplying the aid and guidance which they 

34. From the doctrines of grammar, novelty is rigidly excluded. They consist 
of details to which taste can lend no charm, and genius no embellishment. A 
writer may express them with neatness and perspicuity their importance alone 
can commend them to notice. Yet, in drawing his illustrations from the stores of 
literature, the grammarian may select some gems of thought, which will fasten on 
the memory a worthy sentiment, or relieve the dullness of minute instruction. 
Such examples have been taken from various authors, and interspersed through 
the following pages. The moral effect of early lessons being a point of the utmost 
importance, it is especially incumbent on all those who are endeavouring to confer 
the benefits of intellectual culture, to guard against the admission or the inculca- 
tion of any principle which may have an improper tendency, and be ultimately 
prejudicial to those whom they instruct. In preparing this treatise for publication,* 
the author has been solicitous to avoid every thing that could be offensive to the 
most delicate and scrupulous reader ; and of the several thousands of quotations 
introduced for the illustration or application of the principles of the science, he 
trusts that the greater part will be considered valuable on account of the senti- 
ments they contain. 

35. The nature of the subject almost entirely precludes invention. The author 
has, however, aimed at that kind and degree of originality which are to be com- 
mended in works of this sort. What these are, according to his view, he has 
sufficiently explained in a preceding chapter. And, though he has taken the 
liberty of a grammarian, to think for himself and write in a style of his own, he 
trusts it will be evident that few have excelled him in diligence of research, 
or have followed more implicitly the dictates of that authority which gives law to 
language. In criticising the critics and grammatists of the schools, he has taken 
them upon their own ground showing their errors, for the most part, in contrast 
with the common principles which they themselves have taught ; and has hoped 
to escape censure, in his turn, not by sheltering himself under the name of 
a popular master, but by a diligence which should secure to his writings at least 
the humble merit of self-consistency. His progress in composing this work has 
been slow, and not unattended with labour and difficulty. Amidst the contrarie- 
ties of opinion, that appear in the various treatises already before the public, and 
the perplexities inseparable from so complicated a subject, he has, after deliberate 
consideration, adopted those views and explanations which appeared to him the 
least liable to objection, and the most compatible with his ultimate object the 
production of a work which should show, both extensively and accurately, what 
is, and what is not, good English. 

36. The great art of meritorious authorship lies chiefly in the condensation of 
much valuable thought into few words. Although the author has here allowed 
himself ampler room than before, he has still been no less careful to store it with 
such information as he trusted would prevent the ingenious reader from wishing its 
compass less. He has compressed into this volume the most essential parts of a 
mass of materials in comparison with which the book is still exceedingly small. 
The effort to do this, has greatly multiplied his own labour and long delayed the 
promised publication ; but in proportion as this object has been reached, the time 
and patience of the student must have been saved. Adequate compensation for 
this long toil, has never been expected. Whether from this performance any 
profit shall accrue to the author or not, is a matter of little consequence ; he has 
neither written for bread, nor on the credit of its proceeds built castles in the air. 
His ambition was, to make an acceptable book, by which the higher class of stu- 
dents might be thoroughly instructed, and in which the eyes of the critical would 
find little to condemn. He is too well versed in the history of his theme, too well 
aware of the precarious fortune of authors, to indulge in any confident anticipa- 


tions of extraordinary success : yet he will not deny that his hopes are large, 
being conscious of having cherished them with a liberality of feeling which cannot 
feardisappointment. In this temper he would invite the reader to a thorough 
perusal of these pages. 

37. A grammar should speak for itself. In a work of this nature, every word 
or tittle which does not recommend the performance to the understanding and 
taste of the skillful, is, so far as it goes, a certificate against it. Yet if some small 
errors shall have escaped detection, let it be recollected that it is almost impossible 
to compose and print, with perfect accuracy, a work of this size, in which so many 
little things should be observed, remembered, and made exactly to correspond. 
There is no human vigilance which multiplicity may not sometimes baffle, and 
minuteness sometimes elude. To most persons grammar seems a dry and difficult 
subject ; but there is a disposition of mind, to which what is arduous, is for that 
very reason alluring. "Quo difiicilius, hoc prseclarius," says Cicero; "The 
more difficult, the more honourable." The merit of casting up a high-way in a 
rugged land, is proportionate not merely to the utility of the achievement, but to 
the magnitude of the obstacles to be overcome. The difficulties encountered in 
boyhood from the use of a miserable epitome and the deep impression of a few 
mortifying blunders made in public, first gave the author a fondness for grammar; 
circumstances having since favoured this turn of his genius, he has voluntarily 
pursued the study, with an asssiduity which no man will ever imitate for the sake 
of pecuniary recompense. 



" Foientiam autem nupquam ease censebant, nisi in animi motionibus atque rationibus: qua de causi 
dfftnitiones rerum probabant, et haa ad omnia, de quibus disceptabatur, adhibebant." CICERONIS Aea- 
demica, Lib. i, 9. _^^ 

1. " The first and highest philosophy," says Puffendorf, " is that which delivers 
the most accurate and comprehensive definitions of things." Had all the 
writers on English grammar IM-CH adepts in this philosophy, there would have 
been much k-s complaint of the difficulty and uncertainty of the study. " It 
Murray, "to advance plausible objections against almost every 
definition, rule, and arrangement of grammar." Gram. 8vo, p. 59. But, if 
this i-s true, as regards his, or any other work, the reason, I am persuaded, is far 
less inherent in the nature of the subject than many have supposed.* Objection- 
able definitions and rules are but evidences of the ignorance and incapacity of him 

Samuel Kirk ham, whose grammar is briefly described in the third chapter of this introduction, boldlj 
lays th<- blaiiH- of sill his philological faults, upon our noble language itself '; and even conceives, that a well- 
written ami faultless grammar cannot be a good one, because it will not accord with that reasonless jumble 
which he takes every .-xiMing language to be! How diligently he laboured to perfect his work, and with 
what /x-al for truth ami an-iiracy. may be gue^ed from the following citation : " The truth is, after all which 
can be d-ine to render the definitioi.s and rules of grammar comprehensive and accurate, they will still be 
found, when cikically examine 1 l>\ men of learning and science, nn>rf or bss exceptionable. Thtse exceptiont 
ami im perfections are the unavoidable cotiM-quence of the imperfection* of the language. Language as well 
as -ver> tiling else of human tni-fntinn, will always be imperfect. Consequently, a perfect system of grammat- 
ical principles, tcoiudmot suit it. A perfect grammar will not be produced, until some perfect being writes it 
for a perfect language ; and a perfi-ct language will not be constructed, until tome sitp<r-hvman agency in 
en.ploied in if* pro.luciion. All grammatical principles and systems which are not perfect are frr>j>tion- 
aU'.^Kirkham's Grammar, p. 66. The un plausible i sophistry of these strange remarks, and the palliation 
they afford to the multitudinous defects of the book which contains them, may be left, without further comment, 
to the judgement of the reader. 


who frames them. And if the science of grammar has been so unskillfully treated 
that almost all its positions may be plausibly impugned, it is time for some 
attempt at a reformation of the code. The language is before us, and he who 
knows most about it, can best prescribe the rules which we ought to observe in 
the use of it. But how can we expect children to deduce from a few particulars 
an a'-curate notion of general principles and their exceptions, where learned doctors 
have so often faltered 'i Let the abettors of grammatical " induction " answer. 

2. Nor let it be supposed a light matter to prescribe with certainty the princi- 
ples of grammar. For, what is requisite to the performance ? To know certainly, 
in the first place, what is the best usage. Nor is this all. Sense and memory 
must be keen, arid tempered to retain their edge and hold, in spite of any difficul- 
ties which, the subject may present. To understand things exactly as they are j to 
discern the differences by which they may be distinguished, and the resemblances by 
which they ought to be classified ; to know, through the proper evidences of truth, 
that OUL- ideas, or conceptions, are rightly conformable to the nature, properties, 
and relations, of the objects of which we think ; to see how that which is complex 
may be resolved into its elements, and that which is simple may enter into 
combination ; to observe how that which is consequent may be traced to its cause, 
and that which is regular be taught by rule ; to learn from the custom of speech 
the proper connexion between words and ideas, so as to give to the former a just 
application, to the latter an adequate expression, and to things a just description ; 
to have that penetration which discerns what terms, ideas, or things, are definable, 
and therefore capable of being taught, and what must be left to the teaching of 
nature : these are the essential qualifications for him who would form good 
definitions ; these are the elements of that accuracy and comprehensiveness of 
thought, to which allusion has been made, and which are characteristic of "the 
first and highest philosophy." 

3. Again, with reference to the cultivation of the mind, I would add : To 
observe accurately the appearances of things, and the significations of words ; to 
learn first principles first, and proceed onward in such a manner that every new 
truth may help to enlighten and strengthen the understanding ; and thus to 
comprehend gradually, according to our capacity, whatsoever may be brought 
within the scope of human intellect : to do these things, I say, is, to ascend by 
sure steps, so far as we may, from the simplest elements of science which, in fact, 
are our own, original, undefinable notices of things towards the very topmost 
height of human wisdom and knowledge. The ancient saying, that truth lies hid, 
or in the bottom of a well, must not be taken without qualification ; for " the first 
and highest philosophy " has many principles which even a child may understand. 
These several suggestions, the first of which the Baron de Puffendorf thought not 
unworthy to introduce his great work on the Law of Nature and of Nations, the 
reader, if he please, may bear in mind, as he peruses the following digest of the 
laws and usages of speech. 

4. "Definitions," says Duncan, in his Elements of Logic, "are intended to 
make known the meaning of words standing for complex ideas ;* and were we 
always careful to form those ideas exactly in our minds, and copy OUF definitions 
from that appearance, much of the confusion and obscurity complained of in 

'.ges might be prevented." P. 70. Again he says : " The writings of the 
mathematicians are a clear proof, how much the advancement of human knowledge 
depends upon a right use of definitions." P. 72. Mathematical science has 
been supposed to be, in its own nature, that which is best calculated to develop 

: '*The jihrnap complex ideas, or compound i>/nts, has been used for the notions which we have of things 

consist! : > .is to i-'iilirac-e some sort of plur.ilir , : f-'.uis our 

ideas of Complex or compound. in which 

//// sv. pleasi 

t, &c. But some writers have contended, that ftu: a),///<aW/ ; ;: I that all the 

coi.ijili'xii.v. i general term in lieu of many particular oues. Locke is 

on one side of this debate, Home Tooke, on the other. 


and strengthen the reasoning faculty ; hut. ;>s speech is emphatically tin- 
of reasi'/t. I ;iin persuaded, that had the grammarians 1 een equally char ;mcl 
logical in tlu-ir instrnetioife, ilicir M-ience would never hav. 'inted inferior 

in thN respect, llrammnr i- perhaps the most comprehensive of aii studies ; hut 
it i- chietlv ouing to the imskiilfnlness of instructors, and to the eirors and d> 
of the - . that it is commonly regarded as the most dry and difVcul'. 

5. " 1'oor Scalier (who well knew what a definition should he) from hi 
melancholy experience exclaimed l ^'ilnl hifi-li<-hm yniintii'itii'n < 
Nothing is more unhappy than the grammatical definer." 7Wr\s Isin rsli-ns, 
i, p. '238. Nor do our later appear to have heen more fortun, tc in this 

matter. A majority of all the, definitions and rules contained in the great multitude 
of Knirli>h grammars which I have examined, are, in .-me n-.peet or other, erro- 
neous. The nature of their multitudinous faults. I must in general leave to the 
diseernment of the reader, except the pas.-ages he such as may he suitably .-elected 
for examples of false syntax. Enough, however, will be exhibited, in the course 
of this volume, to make the foregoing allegation credible ; and of the rest a more 
accurate judgement may perhaps he formed, when they shall have i ecu compared 
with what this work will present as substitutes. The importance of wiving correct 
definitions t<> philological terms, and of stating with perfect ; iat-oever 

is to he te 'ioctrin*'. has never heen duly appreciated. The grand source 

of the disheartening difficulties encountered by boys in the study of grammar, 
lie- in their ignorance ( ,f th meaning of words. This cause of end arrassmiMit is 
not to be shunned and left untouched ; but, as far a? possible, it ought to be re- 
moved. In teaching grammar, or indeed any other science, we cannot avoid the 
u-' of many term< to which young learners may have attached no ideas. Being 
little inclined or accustomed to reflection, they often hear, read, or even rehearse fiom 
mennry. the phdnest language thatcan be uttered, and yet have no very distinct ap- 
prehension of what it mean-. What marvel then, that in a study abounding with 
terms taken in a peculiar or technical sense, many of which, in the common manuals, 
are either left undefined, or are explained but loosely or erroneously, they should 
often he .jreatly pux/led. and sometimes totally discouraged'.' 

I*. >'''//, y re derived, not from teaching, but from sensation or con- 

SciouMie ; but com jilr.r itirffs. or the notions which we have of such tilings as con- 
f variou- tand in any known relations, are deh' A 

.11 have no better definition of heat, or of motion, than what he will natu- 
rally get bv iiHii'iiuj towards a Jire. Not so of our complex or general ideas, 
which eonstim The proper objects of scientific induction con-i.-t in 

ptions of pure mind, which form the true meaning of generic 
names, or common nouns ; and he who is properly qualified to teach, can for the 
dily tell what should be understood by such words. Hut are not 
many teacher- : a boy commencing the process 

[dilation, i> iir-t told. that. " Arithmetic is the art of computing bv numbers,'* 
which .-enteiice he partly urid'-ivand.- : bu' should 'he ;.-;; hi- teacher, " What is 
a iiniitlx'r. in arithmetic V what < ': Were (i.old Brown so 

d. he would Dimply Bay, -- . I ///////// /// 'ir'thinrtlr, is an r./y//v.*.v/./// ////// fells 
h">r jinmii : " for every expression 'hat tells how many, is a number in arithmetic, 
and nothing el-e i-. But a- r,n smdi detinition is c.ntained in tin- bonks* there 
are ten chanc 'hat. simple as the matter is, the readie-t n I hall 

find, will give an the tea. her r-houltl Bay, " That is a 

\\\\\\-\\ 1 have not tl . turn to your dictionary." The 1 "y n ads 

* I>il\v ! he does not express it as a defi: 

an I 

things. T!: 

onf. Angu- 

lar. \\Lat does the word singular mean? 

Smith's iV'ir Gram. p. 7. 


from Dr. Webster : " NUMBER the designation of a unit in reference to other units, 
or in reckoning, counting, enumerating." "Yes," replies the master, " that is 
it ; Dr. Webster is unrivalled in giving definitions." Now, has the boy been in- 
structed, or only puzzled? Can he conceive how the number Jive can be a unit? 
or how the word^ye, the figure 5, or the numeral letter V, is " the designation of 
a unit ?" "He knows that each of these is a number, and that the oral monosyl- 
lable Jive is the same number, in an Other form ; but is still as much at a loss for 
a proper answer to his question, as if he had never seen either schoolmaster or 
dictionary. So is it with a vast number of the simplest things in grammar, 

7. Since what we denominate scientific terms, are seldom, if ever, such as stand 
for ideas simple and undefinable ; and since many of those which represent general 
ideas, or classes of objects, may be made to stand for more or fewer things, accord- 
ing to the author's notion of classification ; it is sufficiently manifest that the only 
process by which instruction can effectually reach the understanding of the pupil 
and remove the difficulties spoken of, is that of delivering accurate definitions. 
These are requisite for the information and direction of the learner ; and these 
must be thoroughly impressed upon his mind, as the only means by which he can 
know exactly how much and what he is to understand by our words. The power 
which we possess, of making known all our complex or general ideas of things by 
means of definitions, is a faculty wisely contrived in the nature of language, for 
the increase and spread of science ; and, in the hands of thg skillful, it is of vast 
avail to these ends. It is " the first and highest philosophy," instructing mankind, 
to think clearly and speak accurately ; as well as to know definitely, in the unity 
and permanence of a general nature, those things which never could be known or 
spoken of as the individuals of an infinite and fleeting multitude. 

8. And, without contradiction, the shortest and most successful way of teaching 
the young mind to distinguish things according to their proper differences, and to 
name or describe them aright, is, to tell in direct terms what they severally are. 
Cicero intimates that all instruction appealing to reason ought to proceed in this 
manner: " Omnis enim quae a ratione suscipitur de re aliqua institutio, debet & 
deftnitione proficisci, ut intelligatur quid sit id, de quo disputetur. Off. Lib. i, p. 
4. Literally thus : " For all instruction which from reason is undertaken con- 
cerning any thing, ought to proceed from a definition, that it may be understood 
what the thing is, about which the speaker is arguing." Little advantage, how- 
ever, will be derived from any definition, which is not, as Quintilian would have it, 
" Lucida et succincta rei descriptio" a clear and brief description of the thing. 

9. Let it here be observed that scientific definitions are of things, and not 
merely of words ; or if equally of words and things, they are rather of nouns than 
of the other parts of speech. For a definition, in the proper sense of the term, 
consists not in a mere change or explanation of the verbal sign, but in a direct and 
true answer to the question, What is such or such a thing? In respect to its 
extent, it must with equal exactness include every thing which comes under the 
name, and exclude every thing which does not come under the name : then will it 
perfectly serve the purpose for which it is intended. To furnish such definitions, 
(as I have before suggested,) is work for those who are capable of great accuracy 
both of thought and expression. Those who would qualify themselves for teaching 
any particular branch of knowledge, should make it their first concern to acquire 
clear and accurate ideas of all things that ought to be embraced in their instructions. 
These ideas are to be gained, either by contemplation upon the things themselves 
as they are presented naturally, or by the study of those books in which they are 
rationally and clearly explained. Nor will such study ever be irksome to him 
whose generous desire after knowledge, is thus deservedly gratified. 

10. But it must be understood, that although scientific definitions are said to be 
of things, they are not copied immediately from the real essence of the things, but 
are formed from the conceptions of the author's mind concerning that essence. 


Hence, as Duncan justly remarks, "A mistaken idea never fails to occasion a 
mistake also in the definition." Hence, too, the common distinction of the 
logicians, between definitions of the name and definitions of the thing, seems to 
have little or no foundation. The former term they applied to those definitions 
which describe the objects of pure intellection, such as triangles, and other geomet- 
rical figures ; the latter, to those which define objects actually existing in external 
nature. The mathematical definitions, so noted for their certainty and completeness, 
have been supposed to have some peculiar preeminence, as belonging to the former 
class. But, in fact the idea of a triangle exists as substantively in the mind, as 
that of a tree, if not indeed more so ; and if I define these two objects, my 
description will, in either case, be equally a definition both of the name and of the 
thing ; but in neither, is it copied from any thing else than that notion which I 
have conceived, of the common properties of all triangles or of all trees. 

11. Infinitives, and some other terms not called nouns, may be taken abstractly 
or substantively, so as to admit of what may be considered a regular definition ; 
thus the question, " What is it to read?" is nearly the same as, " What is reading?" 
" What is it to be wise ? " is little different from, " What is wisdom ? " and a true 
answer might be, in either case, a true definition. Nor are those mere translations 
or explanations of words, with which our dictionaries and vocabularies abound, to 
be dispensed with in teaching : they prepare the student to read various authors 
with facility, and furnish him with a better choice of terms, when he attempts to 
write. And in making such choice, let him remember, that as affectation of hard 
words makes composition ridiculous, so the affectation of easy and common ones 
may make it unmanly. But not to digress. With respect to grammar, we must 
sometimes content ourselves with such explications of its customary terms, as 
cannot claim to be perfect definitions ; for the most common and familiar things are 
not always those which it is the most easy to define. When Dr. Johnson was 
asked, " What is poetry?' 1 he replied, "Why, sir, it is easier to tell what it is 
not. We all know what light is : but it is not easy to tell what it is." BoswelVs 
Life of Johnson, Vol. iii, p. 402. This was thought by the biographer to have 
been well and ingeniously said. 

1*2. But whenever we encounter difficulties of this sort, it may be worth while 
to seek for their cause. If we find it, the understanding is no longer puzzled. 
Dr. Johnson seemed to his biographer, to show, by this ready answer, the acuteness 
of his wit and discernment. But did not the wit consist in adroitly excusing 
himself, by an illusory comparison V What analogy is there between the things 
which he compares? Of the difficulty of defining poetry, and the difficulty of 
defining light, the reasons are as different as are the two things themselves, poetry 
and liyht. The former is something so various and complex that it is hard to 
distinguish its essence from its accidents; the latter presents an idea so perfectly 
simple and unique that all men conceive of it exactly in the same way, while none 
can show wherein it essentially consists. But is it true, that, "We all know 
what tight is?" Is it not rather true, that we know nothing at all about it, but 
what it is just as easy to tell as to think ? We know it is that reflexible medium 
which enables us to see ; and this is definition enough for all but the natively 
blind, to whom no definition perhaps can ever convey an adequate notion of its 
u><- in respect to sight. 

13. If a person cannot tell what a thing is, it is commonly considered to be a 
fair inference, that he does not know. Will any grammarian say, " I know well 
enough what the thing is, but I cannot tell?" Yet, taken upon this common 
principle, the authors of our English grammars, (if in framing their definitions 
they have not been grossly wanting to themselves in the exercise of their own art,) 
may be charged, I think, with great ignorance, or great indistinctness of apprehen- 
sion ; and that, too, in relation to many things among the very simplest elements 
of their science. For example : Is it not a disgrace to a man of letters, to be 


unable to tell accurately what a letter is? Yet to say, with Lowth, Murray, 
Churchill, and a hundred others of inferior name, that, "A letter is the first 
.principle or least part of a word," is to utter what is neither good English nor 
true doctrine. The two articles a and the are here inconsistent with each other. 
"A letter "is one letter, any letter; but " the first principle of a word" is, 
surely, not one or any principle taken indefinitely. Equivocal as the phrase is, it 
must mean either some particular principle, or some particular first principle, of 
a word ; and, taken either way, the assertion is false. For it is manifest, that in 
no sense can we affirm of each of the letters of a word, that it is " the first 
principle " of that word. Take, for instance, the word man. Is m the first 
principle of this word? You may answer, " Yes; for it is the first letter " Is a 
the first principle? "No; it is the second." But n too is a letter; and is n 
the first principle ? "No; it is the last!" This grammatical error might have 
been avoided by saying, "Letters are the first principles, or least parts, of words.'* 
But still the definition would not be true, nor would it answer the question, What 
is a letter? The true answer to which is: "A letter is an alphabetic character, 
which commonly represents some elementary sound of human articulation, or 

14. This true definition sufficiently distinguishes letters from the marks used in 
punctuation, because the latter are not alphabetic, and they represent silence, 
rather than sound ; and also from the Arabic figures used for numbers, because 
these are no part of any alphabet, and they represent certain entire words, none 
of which consists only of one letter, or of a single element of articulation. The 
same may be said of all the characters u>ed for abbreviation ; as, & for and, $ 
for dollars, or the marks peculiar to mathematicians, to astronomers, to druggists. &c. 
None of these are alphabetic, and they represent significant words, and not single 
elementary sounds : it would be great dullness, to assume that a word and an 
elementary sound are one and the same thing. But the reader will observe that 
this definition embraces no idea contained in the faulty one to which I arn objecting ; 
neither indeed could it, without a blunder. So wide from the mark is that notion 
of a letter, which the popularity of Dr. Lowth and his copyists has made a hun- 
dred fold more common than any other !* According to an other erroneous defi- 
nition given by these same gentlemen, " Words are articulate sounds, used by 
common consent, as signs of our ideas" Murray's Gram. p. 22; Kirkham's, 
20 ; IrtgersoWs, 7 ; Algers, 12 ; Russell's, 7 ; Merchant's, 9 ; Fisk's, 11 ; Green- 
leafs, 20 ; and many others. See Lowth's Gram. p. 6 ; from which almost all 
authors have taken the notion, that words consist of " sounds " only. But letters are 
no principles or parts of sounds at all ; unless you will either have visible marks 
to be sounds, or the sign to be a principle or part of the thing signified. Nor are 
they always principles or -parts of words : we sometimes write what is not a- word; 
as when, by letters, we denote pronunciation alone, or imitate brute voices. If 
words were formed of articulate sounds only, they could not exist in books, or be 
in any wise known to the deaf and dumb. These two .primary definitions, then, 
are both false ; and, taken together, they involve the absurdity of dividing things 
acknowledged to be indivisible. In utterance, we cannot divide consonants from 
their vowels ; on paper, we can. Hence letters are the least, parts of written lan- 
guage only ; but the least parts of spoken words are syllables, and not letters. 
Every definition of a consonant implies this. 

15. They who cannot define a letter or a word, may be expected to err in ex- 
plaining other grammatical terms. In my opinion, nothing is well written, that 

*It is truly astonishing that so great a majority of our grammarians could have been so blindly misled, as 
they have been, in this matter ; and the more so. because a very good definition of a Letter was both published 
and repuhlished. about the time at which Lowth's first appeared: viz.. " What is a letter? A Letter is the 
Sign, Mark, or Character of a simple or uncompounded Sound. Are Letters Sounds? No. Letters are only 
the Sij^ns or Svmbols of Sounds, not the Sounds themselves." The British Grammar, p. 3. See the very same 
words on the second page of Buchanan's (i English Syntax," a work which was published as early as 1767. 


can possibly bo misunderstood ; and if any definition be likely to suyyrst a wrong 
idea, this alone i- enough to condemn it: nor does it justify the phfttoeology, to 
say, that a more reasonable construction can be put upon it. By Murray and 
others, tin- young learner is told, that, "A min-l is an articulate sound, that can 
be perfectly "//'/"// //// //Wr';" as if a vowel were nothing but a sound, and that 
a sort of echo, which can utter itm-lf ; and next, that, "A consonant \< an articu- 
late son ml, which cannot be perfectly uttei'G(\ without the help of a vowel." Now, 
by their own showing, every letter is either a vowel or aconsonant; hence, accord- 
ing to the>e definitions, all the letters are articulate sounds. And, if so, what is 
a " silent letter? " It is a silent artic.nhitp. sound! Again : ask a boy, " What 
is a triphtlnii. He answers in the words of Murray, Weld, Pond, Smith, 

A<lam>. Kirkham, Merchant, Ingersoll. Bacon, Alger, and others : " A triphthong 
is the union of three vowels, pronounced in like manner : as eau in beau, iew in 
view." He accurately cites an entire paragraph from his grammar, but does he 
well conceive how the three vowels in beau or view are " pronounced in like man- 
' '' Again : "A $yl\<M*> is a sound, either simple or compounded, pronounced 
by a single impulse of the voice." Murray's Gram. 8vo, p. *2'2. This definition 
resolves syllables into v*//Ws ; whereas their true elements are letters. It also mis- 
takes the participle ('<njiit<leil for the adjective compound; whereas the latter 
only is the tin' -f ./////*//'. A compound sound is a sound composed of 

others which may be separated ; a sound compounded is properly that which is 
made an ingredient with others, but which may itself be simple. 

I'l It is olervable, that in their attempts to explain these prime elements of 

grain mar, Murray, and many others who have copied him, overlook all written 

; whereas their very science itself took its origin, name, and nature, 

from the invention of writing; and has consequently no bearing upon any dialect 

which has not been written. Their definitions absurdly resolve letters, vowels, 

coiiMiiKints. syllables, and words, all into sounds ; as if none of these things had 

any existence on paper, or any significance to those who read in silence. Hence, 

tli"ir explanations of all these elements, as well as of many other things equally 

iiial to the study, are palpably erroneous. I attribute this to the carelessness 

with which men have compiled or made up books of grammar ; and that careless- 

. arious circumstances, already described, which have left diligence in 

a grammarian no hope of praise or reward. Without alluding here to my own 

3, no one being obliged to accuse himself, I doubt whether we have any 

school grammar that is much less objectionable in this respect, than Murray's; and 

ly mistaken, if nine tenths of all the definitions in Murray's system 

an- not faulty. " It was this sort of definitions, which made Scnb'cjer say, ' Nihil 

int'i-lirius . '/co.'' See Johnson's Gram. Com. p. 351 ; also 

paragraph ;>/// <il>< 

17. Nor can this objection be neutralized by saying, it is a mere matter of opin- 
ion a mere prejudice originating in rivalry. For, though we have ample choice 
of tenus, and may frequently assign to particular words a meaning -and an explana- 
tion which are in >om- decree arbitrary ; yet whenever we attempt to define things 
under the name which cu.-tom has jm.-itivclv ii\-d upon them, we are no longer left 
to arbitrary explications ; but are bound to think and to say that only which shall 
commend itself to the understanding of others, as being altogether true to nature. 
When a won! is well under- note a particular object or class of objects, 

the detiniiion of it ought to be in strict conformity to what is known of the real 
being and properties of the thing or things contemplated. A definition of this 
kind is a proposition susceptible of proof and illustration; and therefore whatso- 
ever is erroneou-ly assumed to be the proper meaning of such a term, may be 
refuted. But those prr-otis who take every thing upon trust, and choose both to 
learn and to teach mechanically, often become so slavishly habituated to the pecu- 
liar phraseology of their text-books, that, be the absurdity of a particular expres- 


sion what it may, they can neither discover nor suspect any inaccuracy in it. It is 
also very natural even for minds more independent and acute, to regard with some 
reverence whatsoever was gravely impressed upon them in childhood. Hence the 
necessity that all school-books should proceed from skillful hands. Instruction 
should tell things as they are, and never falter through negligence. 

18. I have admitted that definitions are not the only means by which a general 
knowledge of the import of language may be acquired ; nor are they the only 
means by which the acquisition of such knowledge may be aided. To exhibit or 
point out things and tell their names, constitutes a large part of that instruction by 
which the meaning of words is conveyed to the young mind ; and, in many cases, 
a mere change or apposition of terms may sufficiently explain our idea. But when 
we would guard against the possibility of misapprehension, and show precisely 
what is meant by a word, we must fairly define it. There are, however, in 
every language, many words which do not admit of a formal definition. The 
import of all definitive and connecting particles must be learned from usage, trans- 
lation, or derivation ; and nature reserves to herself the power of explaining the 
objects of our simple original perceptions. "All words standing for complex 
ideas are definable ; but those by which we denote simple ideas, are not. For the 
perceptions of this latter class, having no other entrance into the mind, than by 
sensation or reflection, can be acquired only by experience." Duncari s Logic, 
p. 63. "And thus we see, that as our simple ideas are the materials and founda- 
tion of knowledge, so the names of simple ideas may be considered as the element- 
ary parts of language, beyond which we cannot trace the meaning and signification of 
words. When we come to them, we suppose the ideas for which they stand to be 
already known ; or, if they are not, experience alone must be consulted, and not 
definitions or explications." Ibid. p. 69. 

19. But this is no apology for the defectiveness of any definition which might 
be made correct, or for the defectiveness of our English grammars, in the frequent 
omission of all explanation, and the more frequent adoption of some indirect form 
of expression. It is often much easier to make some loose observation upon what 
is meant by a given word or term in science, than to frame a faultless definition of 
the thing; because it is easier to refer to some of the relations, qualities, offices, or 
attributes of things, than to discern wherein their essence consists, so as to be able 
to tell directly and clearly what they are. The improvement of our gramrnatu 
code in this respect, was one of the principal objects which I thought it needful 
attempt, when I first took up the pen as a grammarian. I cannot pretend to hai 
seen, of course, every definition and rule which has been published on this subject 
but, if I do not misjudge a service too humble for boasting, I have myself framed 
greater number of new or improved ones, than all other English grammariar 
together. And not a few of them have, since their first publication in 1823, ' 
complimented to a place in other grammars than my own. This is in 
keeping with the authorship which has been spoken of in an other chapter ; but 
am constrained to say, it affords no proof that they were well written. If it did, 
the definitions and rules in Murray's grammar must undoubtedly be thought the 
most correct that ever have been given : they have been more frequently copied 
than any others. 

20. But I have ventured to suggest, that nine tenths of this author's definitions 
are bad, or at least susceptible of some amendment. If this can be shown to the 
satisfaction of the reader, will he hope to find an other English grammar in which 
the eye of criticism may not detect errors and deficiencies with the same ease ? 
My object is, to enforce attention to the proprieties of speech ; and this is the very 
purpose of all grammar. To exhibit here all Murray's definitions, with criticisms 
upon them, would detain us too long. We must therefore be content to take a 
part of them as a sample. And, not to be accused of fixing only upon the worst, 
we will take a series. Let us then consider in their order his definitions of the 




nine parts of speech ; for, calling the participle a verb, he reduces the sorts of 
words to that number. And though not one of his nine definitions now stands 
exactly as it did in his early editions, I think it may be said, that not one of them 
is now, if it ever has been, expressed grammatically. 

21*. FIRST DEFINITION: "An Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to 
point themout, and to show how far their* signification extends." Murray, and 
others, from Lowth' s Gram. p. 10. This is obscure. In what manner, or in what 
respect, does an article point out substantives Y To point them out as such, or to 
show which words are substantives, seems at first view to be the meaning intended ; 
but it is said soon after, "A or an is used in a vague sense, to point out one 
single thing of the kind, in other respects indeterminate ; as, ' Give me a book ' ; 
' Bring me an apple.' " Lowth, p. 11 ; Murray, p. 31. And again : " It is 
of the nature of both the articles to determine or limit the thing spoken of." 
Murray's Gram. 8vo, p. 170. Now, to point out nouns among the parts of 
speech, and to point out things as individuals of their class, are very different 
matters ; and which of these is the purpose for which articles are used, according 
to Lowth and Murray? Their definition says the former, their explanations imply 
the latter ; and I am unable to determine which they really meant. The term 
placed before would have been better than ' ' prefixed ; " because the latter common- 
ly implies junction, as well as location. The word " indeterminate " is not a very 
easy one for a boy ; and, when he has found out what it means, he may possibly 
not know to which of the four preceding nouns, it ought to be referred : " in a 
vague sense, to point out one single thing of the kind, in other respects indetermi- 
nate." What is this " vague sense ? " and what is it, that is " indeterminate? " 

22. SECOND DEFINITION : "A Substantive or Noun is the name of any thing 
that exists, or of which we have any notion. " Murray, and others. According to 
his own syntax, this sentence of Murray's is wrong ; for he himself suggests, that 
when two or more relative clauses refer to the same antecedent, the same pronoun 
should be used in each Of clauses connected like these, this is true. He should 
therefore have said, "A Substantive, or Noun, is the name of any thing which exists, 
or of which we have any notion." His rule, however, though good against a text like 
this, is utterly wrong in regard to many others, and not very accurate in taking two 
for a "series," thus: " Whatever relative is used, in one of a series of clauses 
relating to the same antecedent, the same relative ought, generally to be used in 

'em all. In the following sentence, this rule is violated: ' It is remarkable, that 
Holland, against which the war was undertaken, and that, in the very beginning, 
was reduced to the brink of destruction, lost nothing.' The clause ought to have 
been, 'and which in the very beginning.' " Murray's Gram. 8vo, p. 155. 
But both the rule and the example, badly as they correspond, were borrowed from 
Priestley's Grammar, p. 102, where the text stands thus: " Whatever relative be 
used, in one of a series of clauses, relating to the same antecedent, the same ought 
to be used in thrm all. ' It is remarkable, that Holland,' " &c. 

23. THIRD DEFINITION : "An Adjective is a word added to a substantive, to 
express its quality." Lowth, Murray, Bullions, Pond, and others. Here we 
have the choice of two meanings ; but neither of them is according to truth. It 
seems doubtful whether " t ts quality" is the adjective's quality, or the substan- 
tive's ; but in either sense, the phrase is false ; for an adjective is added to a noun, 
not to express any quality either of the adjective or of the noun, but to express 
some quality of the thing signified by the noun. But the definition is too much 
restricted ; for adjectives may be added to pronouns as well as to nouns, nor do 
they always express quality. 

- \ FOURTH DEFINITION : "A Pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, to 
aroid the too frequent repetition of the same word." Dr. Ash's Gram. p. 25; 

In Murray's octaro Grammar, thia word IB the in the first chapter, and their in the eecond : in the 
duodecimo, it is their in both places. 


Murray's, 28 and 50; Feltorfs, 18; Alger's, 13; Bacon's, 10; and others. 
The latter part of this sentence is needless, and also contains several errors. 1. 
The verb avoid is certainly very ill-chosen ; because it, implies intelligent agency, 
and not that which is merely instrumental. 2. The article the is misemployed for 
a ; for, " the too frequent repetition," should mean some particular too frequent 
repetition an idea not intended here, and in itself not far from absurdity. 3. 
The phrase, " the same word," may apply to the pronoun itself as well as to the 
noun: in saying, "/came, /saw, /conquered," there is as frequent a repetition 
of the same word, as in saying, "Caesar came, Ocesar saw, Ccesar conquered." 
If, therefore, the latter part of this definition must be retained, the whole .should 
be written thus : "A Pronoun is a word used in stead of a noun, to prevent too 
frequent a repetition of it." 

25. FIFTH DEFINITION : "A Verb is a word which signifies to be, to do, or to 
suffer." Lowth, Murray, and others. NOTE: "A verb may generally be 
distinguished by its making sense with any of the personal pronouns, or the word 
to before it." Murray, and others. It is confessedly difficult to give a perfect 
definition of a verb ; and if, with Murray, we will have the participles to be verbs, 
there must be no small difficulty in forming one that shall be tolerable. Against 
the foregoing old explanation, it may be objected, that the phrase to suffer, being 
now understood in a more limited sense than formerly, does not well express the 
nature or import of a passive verb. I have said, "A Verb is a word that signifies 
to be, to act, or to be acted upon." Children cannot readily understand, how 
every thing that is in anyway acted upon, may be said to suffer. The participle, 
I think, should be taken as a distinct part of speech, and have its own dc6nition. 
The note added by Murray to his definition of a verb, would prove the participle 
not to be included in this part of speech, and thus practically contradict his scheme. 
It is also objectionable in respect to construction. The phrase "by its making 
sense " is at least very questionable English ; for " its making " supposes making 
to be a noun, and " making sense " supposes it to be an active participle. But 
Lowth says, " Let it be either the one or the other, and abide by its own construc- 
tion." Nay, the author himself, though he therein contradicts an other note of his 
own, virtually condemns the phrase, by his caution to the learner against, treating 
words in ing, "as if they were of an amphibious species, partly nouns and partly 
verbs." Murray's Gram. 8vo, p. 193. 

26. SIXTH DEFINITION : "An Adverb is a part of speech joined to a verl 
an adjective, and sometimes to another adverb, to express some quality or circi 
stance respecting it." Murray's Gram. p. 28 and 114. See Dr. Ash's Grc 

?. 47. This definition contains many errors; some of which are gross blundei 
. The first word, "An," is erroneously put for The: an adverb is one advei 
not the whole class; and, if, "An adverb is a part of speech," any and eyei 
adverb is a part of speech ; then, how many parts of speech are there? 2. 
word "joined" is not well chosen; for, with the exception of cannot, the advc 
is very rarely joined to the word to which it relates. 3. The want of a conn 
before joined, perverts the construction ; for the phrase, " speech joined to 
verb," is nonsense ; and to suppose joined to relate to the noun part, is not. mu 
better. 4. The word " and" should be or ; because no adverb is ever added 
three or four different terms at once. 5. The word " some, times " should be 
omitted ; because it is needless, and because it is inconsistent with the only 
conjunction which will make the definition true. 6. The preposition "to" should 
either be inserted before " an adjective," or suppressed before the term which follows ; 
for when several words occur in the same construction, uniformity of expression is 
desirable. 7. For the same reason, (if custom may be thus far conformed to 
analogy,) the article " an " ought, in cases like this, if not always, to be separated 
from the word other ; thus, "An adverb is a word addded to a verb, a participle, 
an adjective, or an other adverb." Were the eye not familiar with it, another 



would be thought as irp-irular a- theother. 8. The word " quality" is wwn; ; for 
no adverb ever ex| y f/ntt/iti/, as such ; qualities arc expressed by mlji'c- 

//<vy. and never, in any direct manner, by adverbs. 9. The " circumstances " 
which \v by adverbs never belong to the words, as this definition avers they do. but always to the art ions or qualities which the words signify. 
!>. Ti.- prnoun i f - according to Murray's second rule of syntax, ought to be 
thi-r.' inds in his own early editions; but if and be changed to or, 

as 1 luvc said it should be, the pronoun it will be right. 

'11. SKVKNTII DKFIXITIOX : " JVp^itions serve to connect w, K with one 
<ow the relation bi-tveen them." Lowth, Murray, and others. 
This is only an observation, not a definition, as it ought to have been ; nor does it 
lUh the preposition from the conjunction. It does not reach the thing 
in (j .it contains an actual solecism in the expression. The word 

' - // implies but two things; and the phrase "one another" is not 

applicable win-re there are but two. It should be, "to connect words with each 
other, and to <h'\v th" n-latinn brfirfan them; " or else, "to connect words with 
one an other, and to show the relation* amotif/ them." But the latter mode of 
expression would not apply to prepositions considered severally, but only to the 
whole c; 

rjiGHTii DEFINITION : "A Conjunction is a part of speech that is chiefly 
used so as, out of two or more sentences, to make but one : 

.eets only words." Murray, and others. Here are more than 
thii -..4y strung together; and all that is said in them, 

mi_ n half the number. For example : "A Conjunc- 

tion unects other terms, and commonly of two sentences makes 

but one." 1 -ity and want of unity are not the worst faults of this 

definition. We have three others to point out. 1. "A conjunction is " not " a 
e a conjunction is one conjunction, and a part of speech is 

a wi it, of words. A similar error was noticed in Murray's definition 

of an adverb ; and so common has this blunder become, that by a comparison of the 
definitions which different authors have given of the parts of speech, probably it 
will be found, tint, by some hand or other, every one of the ten has been 
com 2. The words " or more " are erroneous, and ought to be 

omitted ; tor no one conjunction can connect more than two terms, in that 
con- ler which the sense requires. Three or more simple sentences may 

indee d form a compound sentence; but, as they cannot be joined in a cluster, they 
must In r more 001 3. The last clause erroneously sug- 

than any or every conjunction "* </$;" but the 

con may connect only words, are not more than five, whereas those 

which CM- - are tour tiin<- a- many. 

: " Inic: > words thrown in bef.n'*',-n the parts 

r emotions of > Virtue ! 

how an:; .'" .I////-/-.///. Tlii> definition, which 

iimar, and committed to memory millions of 

tim- is, and directly contradicted by the example. Interjec- 

of a f/ixnnirse, are very 

ran-iv "thrown iii <>fe." They more fr i- ur 

at the ' ; and, in v do 

not :i:iiti(in. The author, at the head of his chapter 

on mition t\\ both >f which 

con my fri-ud." "Alas! I 

fe::r :! as 

in ive of the emotions of ti; han 

of tit 

30. I have thus exhibited, with all intentional fairness of criti entire 


series of these nine primary definitions ; and the reader may judge whether they 
sustain the praises which have been bestowed on the book,* or confirm the allega- 
tions which 1 have made against it. He will understand that my design is, here, 
as well as in the body of this work, to teach grammar practically, by rectifying, 
so far as I may, all sorts of mistakes either in it or respecting it ; to compose a 
book which, by a condensed exposition of such errors as are commonly found in 
other grammars, will at once show the need we have of a better, and be itself a 
fit substitute for the principal treatises which it censures. Grammatical errors are 
universally considered to be small game for critics. They must therefore be very 
closely grouped together, to be worth their room in this work. Of the tens of 
thousands who have learned for grammar a multitude of ungrammatical definitions 
and rules, comparatively few will ever know what I have to say of their acquisi- 
tions. But this I cannot help. To the readers of the present volume it is due, 
that its averments should be clearly illustrated by particular examples ; and it is 
reasonable that these should be taken from the most accredited sources, whether 
they do honour to their framers or not. My argument is only made so much 
the stronger, as the works which furnish its proofs, are the more esteemed, the 
more praised, or the more overrated. 

31. Murray tells us, "There is no necessary connexion between words and 
ideas." Octavo Gram i, 139. Though this, as I before observed, is not alto- 
gether true, he doubtless had very good reason to distinguish, in his teaching, 
" between the sign and the thing signified." Yet, in his own definitions and ex- 
planations, he frequently confounds these very things which he declares to be so 
widely different as not even to have a " necessary connexion " Errors of this 
kind are very common in all our English grammars. Two instances occur in the 
following sentence ; which also contains an error in doctrine, and is moreover ob- 
scure, or rather, in its literal sense, palpably absurd : " To substantives belong 
gender, number, and case ; and they are all of the third person when spoken of, 
and of the second person when spoken to." Murray's Gram. 38 ; Alger's Murray, 
16 ; Merchant's, 23 ; Bacon's. 12 ; Maltby's, 12 ; Lyon's, 1 ; Guy's, 4 ; Inger- 
soll's, 26 ; S Putnam's, 13 ; T. H Miller's, 17 ; Rev. T. Smith's, 13. Who, but 
a child taught by language like this, would ever think of speaking to a noun ? or, 
that a noun of the second person could not be spoken of ? or, that a noun cannot be 
put in the first person, so as to agree with lor we? Murray himself once taught, 
that, " Pronouns must always agree with their antecedents, and the nouns for 
which they stand, in gender, number, and person ; " and he departed from a tn 
and important principle of syntax, when he altered his rule to its present form. 
But I have said that the sentence above is obscure, or its meaning absurd. Wl 
does the pronoun "they " represent? "Substantives" according to the author' 
intent ; but " gender, number, and case" according to the obvious construction c 
the words. Let us try a parallel : "To scriveners belong pen, ink, and paper 
and they are all of primary importance when there is occasion to use them, and 
.none at all when they are not needed." Now, if this sentence is obscure, 
other is not less so ; hut, if this is perfectly clear, so that what is said is obviousb 
and only what is intended, then it is equally clear, that what is said in the former, 
is j^ross absurdity, and that the words cannot reasonably be construed into the 
sense which the writer, and his copyists, designed. 

32 All Murray's grammars, not excepting the two volumes octavo, are as in- 
complete as they are inaccurate ; being deficient in many things which are of so 
great importance that they should not be excluded from the very smallest epitome. 
For example : On the subject of the numbers, he attempted but one definition, and 
that is a fourfold solecism. He speaks of the persons, but gives neither definitions 

* " The 'Iffnitions and the rules throughout the Grammar, are expressed with neatness and perspicuity. 
They are a" short and comprehensive ;is the nature of the subject would admit: and they are well adapted 
both to the understanding and the memory of young persons." Lift of L. Murray, p 245. " It may truly 
be said, that the language in every part of the work, is simple, correct, and perspicuous." Ib. p. 246. 


nor explanations. In treating of the genders, he gives but one formal definition. 
Hi> MTtiun on the cases contains no regular definition. On the comparison of 
adjectives, and on the moods and tenses of verbs, he is also satisfied with a very 
loose mode of teaching. The work as a whole exhibits more industry than literary 
ta>te. more benevolence of heart than distinctness of apprehension; and, like all 
its kindred and progeny, fails to give to the principles of grammar that degree of 
clearness of which they are easily susceptible. The student does not know this, 
but he fuels the effects of it, in the obscurity of his own views on the subject, and 
in the conscious uncertainty with which he applies those principles. In grammar, 
the term- jicrsnn, number, gender, case, mood, tense, and many others, are used 
in a technical and peculiar sense ; and, in all scientific works, the sense of technical 
terms should be clearly and precisely defined. Nothing can be gained by substi- 
tuting other names <>f modern invention ; for these also would need definitions as 
much as the old. We. want to know the things themselves, and what they are 
most appropriately called. We want a book which will tell us, in proper order, 
and in tho plainest manner, what all the elements of the science are. 

.'!'! What does he know of grammar, who cannot directly and properly answer 
such qnc>tions as the>e ? " What, are numbers, in grammar ? What is the singu- 
lar number? What is the plural number? What are persons, in grammar? 
What is the first person ? What is the second person ? What is the third per- 
son ? What are genders, in grammar What is the masculine gender? What 
is the feminine gender ? What is the neuter gender ? What are cases, in grammar ? 
What is the nominative case ? What is the possessive case? What is the ob- 
jective case '.' " And yet the most complete acquaintance with every sentence or 
word of Murray's tedious compilation, may leave the student at a loss for a 
proper an.-wer, not only to each of these questions, but also to many others equally 
simple and elementary ! A boy may learn by heart all that Murray ever pub- 
lished on the subject of grammar, and still be left to confound the numbers in 
grammar with numbers in arithmetic, or the persons in grammar with persons in 
civil life ! Nay. there are among the professed improvers of this system of 
r.-mmiar. mm who have actually confounded these things, which are so totally 
itierent in their natures ! In " Smith's New Grammar on the Productive System," 
a work in which Murray is largely copied and strangely metamorphosed, there is 
an abundance of surh confusion For instance: "What is the meaning of the 
word number? Number means a sum that maybe counted." R. C. Smith's 
'nun j. 7. I'Yom this, by a tissue of half a dozen similar absurdities, 
called iiif/nrtiniia. the novi.-.- i> brought to the conclusion that the numbers are 
<> as it' then: were in nature but two sums that might be counted ! There is no 
.1 to the sickening detail of such blunders. How many grammars tell us, that, 
" Tin- fir-t p-rson is the /n'rxnn >r/f<> sjn-nks ; " that, " The second person is the 
< // tn ; " ami that, " the third pfixui is the person spoken of! " As if 
the three jter>on> of a verb, or other part of speech, were so many intelligent beings ! 
As if. by exhibiting a word in the three persons. (nsgo,goest,gocs,) we put it tii>t info 
then into tin- limrrr, ami then into somebody else! Nothing can be 
more abhorrent to grammar, or to MM, than such ronfu>ion. The things which 
are identified in each of the>e three definitions, are as unlike as Socrates and 
moonshine 1 The one i^ a thinking being ; the other, a mere form peculiar to cer- 
tain words Hut Chandler, of Philadelphia, (" the Grammar King," forsooth!) 
without mistaking the grammatical persons for rational souls, lias contrived to 
crowd into hi* definition of person more errors of conception and of language, 
more in-ult to nmmion V,MI>C. than one could have believed it pos.-ible to put 
together in such space And this ridiculous old twaddle, after six and twenty 
he ha< deliberately re-written and lately republished as something "adapted 
to the schools of Ameriea." It stands thus : "/W\o// is n distinction which is 
in<l<> hi <i noun between its representation of its object, either as spoken to, or 



spoken of" Chandler's E. Grammar, Edition of 1821, p. 16 ; Ed. 1847, p. 21. 

34. Grammarians have often failed in their definitions, because it is impossible 
to define certain terms in the way in which the description has been commonly 
attempted. He who undertakes what is impossible must necessarily fail ; and fail 
too, to the discredit of his ingenuity. It is manifest that whenever a generic name 
in the singular number is to be defined, the definition must be founded upon some 
property or properties common to all the particular things included under the term. 
Thus, if I would define a globe, a wheel, or a pyramid, my description must be 
taken, not from what is peculiar to one or an other of these things, but from those 
properties only which are common to all globes, all wheels, or all pyramids. But 
what property has unity in common with plurality, on which a definition of number 
may be founded ? What common property have the three cases, by which we 
can clearly define case ? What have the three persons in common, which, in a defi- 
nition of person, could be made evident to a child ? Thus all the great classes of 
grammatical modifications, namely, persons, numbers, genders, cases, moods, and 
tenses, though they admit of easy, accurate, and obvious definitions in the plural, 
can scarcely be defined at all in the singular. I do not say, that the terms person, 
number, gender, case, mood, and tense, in their technical application to grammar, 
are all of them equally and absolutely undefinable in the singular ; but I say, 
that no definition, just in sense and suitable for a child, can ever be framed for any 
one of them. Among the thousand varied attempts of grammarians to explain 
them so, there are a hundred gross solecisms for every tolerable definition. For 
this, as T have shown, there is a very simple reason in the nature of the things. 

35. But this reason, as well as many other truths equally important and equally 
clear, our common grammarians, have, so far as I know, every man of them over- 
looked. Consequently, even when they were aiming at the right thing, they fre- 
quently fell into gross errors of expression ; and, what is still more surprising, such 
errors have been entailed upon the very art of grammar, and the art of authorship 
itself, by the prevalence of an absurd notion, that modern writers on this subject 
can be meritorious authors without originality. Hence many a school-boy is daily 
rehearsing from his grammar-book what he might well be ashamed to have written. 
For example, the following definition from Murray's grammar, is found in perhaj 
a. dozen other comperids, all professing to teach the art of speaking and writing with 
propriety : "Number is the consideration of an object, as one or more."* Yet 

*For this definition, see Murray's Gram. 8vo, p. 40; Duodecimo, 41; Smaller Grain. 18; Algeria. 18; 
Bacons. 15 : Frost's, 8 : IngersoWs, 17 ; A Teacher's, 8 ; Malthas, 14 ; T. H Miller's, 20 : Pond's, 18 ; S Put- 
nam's, 15; Russell's, 11 ; Merchant's Murray, 25; and Worcester's Univ. and Crit. Dictiniiin>/. Many otl 
grammarians have attempted to define number ; with what success a few examples will show : (1.) Numl 
is the distinction of one from many." Allen's Gram. p. 40 ; Merchant's School Gram. 28 ; Greenlfaf's 
22; Nutting's, 17 ; Picket's, 19 ; D. Adams's, 31. (2.) '-Number is the distinction of one from umn-."- 
Fisher's Gram. 51 ; Alrtm's, 1 (3.) " Number is the distinction of one from several or many." Coar's Gram. 
p. 24. (4.) " Number is the distinction of one from more than one/' Sanborn's Gram. p. 24 : J Flint's, 27; 
Wrl>s's,i)2. (5.) '' Number i< the distinction of one from more than one, or many. Grant's /. 
(6.) ''What is number? Number is the Distinction of one, from two, or many " British Grain, p 8' 
Buchanan's, li. (7.) "You inquire, ' What is number?' Merely this : the tiistinction of one from t\ 
or man v. Greek substantives have three numbers." Bucke's Classical Gram.p 38. All these authors sayj 
tint., in Kngli-h, " there are tn:t>. numbers, the singular and the plurril." According to their explanations, 
then, we have tn-a " dis.'^n-tinns of one from tiro, st-rrrnL man-, or many : " and the Greeks, by adding a dual 
number, have ///// / .' Which, then, of the two or three modifications or forms, do they mean, when they say, 
' Number is lit" distinction." c.? Or, if none of them, what flw is meant? All these definitions had their 
origin in an old I.aiin one, which, although it is somewhat better, makes doubtful logic in its application: 
" NuMERUS es;. unius et multorum distinotio. Numeri i<^itur sunt duo ; Singulariset Pluralis." R>'<-' 

p 21 This means : (8 ) Number is a distinction of one and many. The mini) 
the Singular and the Plural" But we have yet other examples : as, (9.) "Number is the distinction of 

M one <>r more." Kirkliam's Gram. p. 39. "The distinction ot obj " is very much 

like u the ron^'d< r/iiinn of nn obj (10.) "Number distinguishes" 

more." f'/>,,/,,r'* Mmrm/. ]}. 21 : Practical G/-(t>>>. p IS. That is, number makes the plural to be ei'h<>r plu- 
ral or singulir fr distinction's sake ! (11.) " Number is the distinct-ion- b regard to th< 
signified, us uti'- r .,. Min;-ni/, p. 

19. Here, too, number has ' regai >me confusion ; 

while, by a gross error, is distinction " is confined to " nouns ' only ! (12.) ; ' Number i~ f 

a unit, i i i ni one." Bullions' x E. Grtim.p. 12; Aimt-r. G 

Here again number i- united to " n noun : " and is said to be one sign of two. or eirher of two, 

ii.cmu|,;,:il,|,. i! a ! (13 > "Number shows hoiv itiantr.irc meant, whether one or more." >//,/V /<'.-> New 
Gram. p. 4". Tni-. is not a d'Jii/it.ion, but a faKe assertion, in which Smith again confounds arithmetic, with 
grammar! \\'/i/at and <>n!s are of different numbers ; but neither ol' these numbers " means a sum that 
may be counted," or really " bhows Iww many are meant." So of " Man in general, Horses in general, &c." 


this short sentence, as I have before suggested, is a fourfold solecism. First, the 
word " nn/iili'i' " is wrong; because those modifications of language, which dis- 
tinguish unity and plurality, cannot be jointly signified by it. Secondly, the word 
" consideration " is wrong ; because HHIH/MT is not consideration, in any sense 
which can be put upon the terms : condition, constitution, configuration, or any 
other word beginning with con, would have done just as well. Thirdly, " the 
consideration of <in object as one," is but idle waste of thought ; for, that one thing 
is one, that an object is one object, every child knows by intuition, and not 
by " consideration.^ Lastly, to consider " an object as more " than one, is im- 

le; unless this admirable definition lead us into a misconception in so plain 

! So much for the art of " the grammatical definer." 
Many other examples, equally faulty and equally common, might be quoted 
and criticised for the further proof and illustration of what I have alleged. But 

ider will perhaps judge the foregoing to be sufficient. I have wished to be 
brief, and yet to give my arguments, and the neglected facts upon which they rest, 
their proper force upon the mind. Against such prejudices as may possibly arise 
from the authorship of rival publications, or from any interest in the success of 
one book rather than of an other, let both my judges and me be on our guard. I 
have intended to be fair ; for captiousness is not criticism. If the reader perceives 
in the<e strictures any improper bias, he has a sort of discernment which it is my 
misfortune to lack. Against the compilers of grammars, I urge no conclusions at 
which any man can hesitate, who accedes to my preliminary remarks upon them ; 
and these may be summed up in the following couplet of the poet Churchill : 

" To copy beauties, forfeits all pretence 
To fame; to copy faults, is want of sense." 

Gram. p. 77. (14.) " Number is the difference in a noun or pronoun, to denote either a single 
more than one." Davenport's Gram.p.lA. This excludes the numbers of a verb, and makes the 
lingular Jiii'l the plural to : ing. (1">.) Number is a modification of nouns and verbs, 

&c. ace" ' Vmg -poken of i< represented, as, one or more, with regard to number." Burn's Gram. 

p. 32. . which I leave to the discernment of the reader. (16.) " What is number? 

Number fiioirs the i/istinrtion of one from many " \Vileojc'* Gram. p. 6. This is no answer to the question 
asked: besides, it is obviously worse than the first form, which has " is, " for "sAou?5." (17.) " What ia 
Number? It is the representation of objects with respect to Mn^lem^s, or plurality.'' O. B. Pfirre's, Gram. 
' t" there are two numbers, they are neither of them properly described in this definition, or in any of 
the preceding ones. Then- i- a grott beoo0*ptioe, in taking each or either of them to be an alternate repre- 

rt of error is far from being confined to the present subject ; 
It runs tiir"U_'h a vast number of the various definitions contained in our grammars. (18.) ' A'.v.v 

' indicate one object or more than nne. Or. of unity or of 

more than uni p. 14. How hard this author laboured to think what number is, ;md could 

not! (l!>.) " Number is the >n. p.40. U'hv ,- r. 

tinrtinn . " the numbers, or ili\'i>i'-tinns, bt-in-,' twn ' (-'>.) Number is tk- rti/>,irit,/ of nouns to represent 
g M m-T- rhan one object."/ Gram, p 40. (21.) "Number is a property of the 

(22.) " Number is n nioriificatinn 

ot whether meant, or more than one." Butler's Gram. p. 1'.). Mam" c.f the 

'hough they speak of both 

ilar and the ; rhaps sometime* apply the term mimbfr to th> hich is in each: 

.i.i-y from plurality ; and of the plural, to dis- 

" uniry. Am 'tni< silent, are Lily. Colet, llrightland. ll.mH, 

Liiell, A. lam. CouM, lUrii-on. Comlv. .lau.lon, Webster, Webber, Churchill, 

. Cobb, A. Flint, Feleh, (Juy. Hall, and S. \V. Clark. Adam and 

GouM. ho. v.-r. in .xpl lining the properties of verbs, say : "Number marks how many we suppose to be, to 
ct, or to suffer." 4.80; < 




" Sed ut perveniri ad gumma nisi ex principiis non potest : ita, procedente jam opere, minima incipiunt 
esse quae prima sunt." QUINTILIAN. Lib. x, Cap. 1, p. 660. 

1. The history of grammar, in the proper sense of the term, has heretofore 
been made no part of the study. I have imagined that many of its details might 
be profitable, not only to teachers, but to that class of learners for whose use this 
work is designed. Accordingly, in the preceding pages, there have been stated 
numerous facts properly historical, relating either to particular grammars, or to 
the changes and progress of this branch of instruction. These various details it is 
hoped will be more entertaining, and perhaps for that reason not less useful, than 
those explanations which belong merely to the construction and resolution of 
sentences. The attentive reader must have gathered from the foregoing chapters 
some idea of what the science owes to many individuals whose names are connected 
with it. But it seems proper to devote to this subject a few pages more, in order 
to give some further account of the origin and character of certain books. 

2. The manuals by which grammar was first taught in English, were not 
properly English Grammars. They were translations of the Latin Accidence ; 
and were designed to aid British youth in acquiring a knowledge of the Latin 
language, rather than accuracy in the use of their own. The two languages were 
often combined in one book, for the purpose of teaching sometimes both together, 
and sometimes one through the medium of the other. The study of such works 
doubtless had a tendency to modify, and perhaps at that time to improve, the 
English style of those who used them. For not only must variety of knowlcd_ 
have led to copiousness of expression, but the most cultivated minds woul 
naturally be most apt to observe what was orderly in the use of speech, 
language, indeed, after its proper form is well fixed by letters, must resist al 
introduction of foreign idioms, or become corrupted. Hence it is, that Dr. 
Johnson avers, " The great pest of speech is frequency of translation. No 

was ever turned from one language into another, without imparting something 
its native idiom ; this is the most mischievous and comprehensive innovation. "- 
Pref. to Joh. Diet. 4to, p. 14. Without expressly controverting this opinion, 
offering any justification of mere metaphrases, or literal translations, we may wel 
assert, that the practice of comparing different languages, and seeking the m( 
appropriate terms for a free version of what is ably written, is an excercij 
admirably calculated to familiarize and extend grammatical knowledge. 

3. Of the class of books here referred to, that which I have mentioned in 
other chapter, as Lily's or King Henry's Grammar, has been by far the rm 
celebrated and the most influential. Concerning this treatise, it is stated, that it 
parts were not put together in the present form, until eighteen or twenty yeai 
after Lily's death. " The time when this work was completed," says the preface 
of 1793, " has been differently related by writers. Thomas Hayne places it in 
the year 1543, and Anthony Wood, in 1545. But neither of these accounts can 
be right ; for I have seen a beautiful copy, printed upon vellum, and illuminated, 
anno 1542, in quarto. And it may be doubted whether this was the first 
edition." John Ward, Pref. p. vii. In an Introductory Lecture, read before 
the University of London in 1828, by Thomas Dale, professor of English literature, 
I find the following statement: "In this reign," the reign of Henry VIII, 
" the study of grammar was reduced to a system, by the promulgation of many 


grammatical treatises ; one of which was esteemed of sufficient importance to be 
honoured with a royal name. It was called, ' The Grammar of King Henry the 
Eighth ; ' and to this, ' with other works, the young Shakspeare was probably 
indebted for some learning and much loyalty.' But the honour of producing the 
^lish grammar is claimed by William Bullokar, who published, in the year 
!;>'. % A Bref Grammar for English,' being, to use his own words, ' the first 
Grammar for English that ever waz, except my Grammar at large.' ' 

4. Ward's preface to Lily commences thus : " If we look back to the origin of 
our common Latin Grammar, we shall find it was no hasty performance, nor the 
work of a single person ; but composed at different times by several eminent and 
learned men, till the whole was at length finished, and by the order of King Henry 
VI II [,] brought into that form in which it has ever since continued. The 

'/ introduction was written by the reverend and learned Dr. John Colet, 
dean of St. Paul's, for the use of the school he had lately founded there ; and 
was dedicated by him to William Lily, the first high master of that school, in the 
year 1510 ; for which reason it has usually gone by the name of Paul's Accidence. 
The substance of it remains the same, as at first ; though it has been much altered 
in the manner of expression, and sometimes the order, with other improvements. 
The Enijliah syntax was the work of Lily, as appears by the title in the most 
ancient editions, which runs thus : Gulielmi Lilii Angli Rudimenta. But it 
has been greatly improved since his time, both with regard to the method, and an 
enlargement of double the quantity." 

5. Paul's Accidence is therefore probably the oldest grammar that can now be 
found in our language. It is not, however, an English grammar; because, though 
written in antique English, and embracing many things which are as true of our 
language as of any other, it was particularly designed for the teaching of Latin. 
It begins thus : "In speech be these eight parts following : Noun, Pronoun, Verb, 
Participle, declined ; Adverb, Conjunction, Preposition, Interjection, undeclined." 
This is the old platform of the Latin grammarians ; which differs from that of the 
Greek grammars, only in having no Article, and in separating the Interjection 
from the class of Adverbs. Some Greek grammarians, however, separate the 
Adjective from the Noun, and include the Participle with the Verb : thus, 
" There are in Greek eight species of words, called Parts of Speech ; viz. Article, 
Noun, Adjective, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, and Conjunction." 
Aiitlinn^ I d f />y, p. 18. With respect to our language, the plan of the Latin 
Accidence is manifestly inaccurate ; nor can it be applied, without some variation, 
to the Greek. In both, as well as in all other languages that have Articles, the 
best amendment of it, and the nearest adherence to it, is, to make the Parts of 
Speech /-// ; namely, the Article, the Noun, the Adjective, the Pronoun, the 
Verb, the Participle, the Adverb, the Conjunction, the Preposition, and the 

. Th<! l.i->t Latin grammarians admit that the Adjective ought not to be called 
a Noun ; and the best Greek grammarians, that the Interjections ought not to be 
inclu*: Adverbs. Witli respect to I 'articiples, a vast majority of gram- 

marians in general, make them a distinct species, or part of speech; but, on this 
point, the Kii'ili.-h <<rammarians are about equally divided : nearly one half include 
them with the verbs, and a few call them adjectives. In grammar, it is wrong to 
deviate from the old groundwork, except for the sake of truth and improvement; 
and. in this case, to vary the si-ries of parts, by suppressing one and substituting 
an other, is in fact a greater innovation, than to make the terms ten, by adding one 
and dividing an other. But our men of nine parts of speech innovated yet more : 
they added the Article, as did the Greeks; divided the Noun into Substantive 
and Adjective ; and, without good reason, suppressed the Participle. And, of 
latter time, not a few have thrown the whole into confusion, to show the world 
" the order of [their] understanding." What was grammar fifty years ago, some 


of these have not thought it worth their while to inquire ! And the reader has 
seen, that, after all this, they can complacently talk of " the censure so frequently 
and so justly awarded to unfortunate innovators." KIRKHAM'S Gram. p. 10. 

7. The old scheme of the Latin grammarians has seldom, if ever, been literally 
followed in English ; because its distribution of the parts of speech, as declined 
and undeclined, would not be true \*ith respect to the English participle. With 
the omission of this unimportant distinction, it was, however, scrupulously retained 
by Dilworth, by the author of the British Grammar, by William Ward, by 
Buchanan, and by some others now little known, who chose to include both the 
article and the adjective with the noun, rather than to increase the number of the 
parts of speech beyond eight. Dr. Priestley says, " I shall adopt the usual 
distribution of words into eight classes ; viz. Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns, Verbs, 
Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections.* I do this in compliance 
with the practice of most Grammarians ; and because, if any number, in a thing 
so arbitrary, must be fixed upon, this seems to be as comprehensive and distinct 
as any. All the innovation I have made hath been to throw out the Participle, 
and substitute the Adjective, as more evidently a distinct part of speech." 
Rudiments of English Gram. p. 3. All this comports well enough with Dr. 
Priestley's haste and carelessness ; but it is not true, that he either adopted, " the 
usual distribution of words," or made an other " as comprehensive and distinct as 
any." His " innovation" too, which has since been countenanced by many other 
writers, I have already shown to be greater, than if, by a promotion of the article 
and the adjective, he had made the parts of speech ten. Dr. Beattie, who was 
Priestley's coeval, and a much better scholar, adopted this number without 
hesitation, and called every one of them by what is still its right name : " In 
English, there are ten sorts of words, which are all found in the following short 
sentence; ' I now see the good man coming ; but, alas ! he walks with difficulty.' 
/and he are pronouns; now is an adverb; see and walks are verbs; the is an 
article ; good, an adjective ; man and difficulty are nouns, the former substantive, 
the latter abstract ; coming is a participle ; but, a conjunction ; alas ! an interjec- 
tion ; with, a preposition. That no other sorts of words are necessary in lan- 
guage, will appear, when we have seen in what respects these are necessary." 
Beattie 's Moral Science, Vol. i, p. 30. This distribution is precisely that 
which the best French grammarians have usually adopted. 

8. Dr. Johnson professes to adopt the division, the order, and the terms, " of 
the common grammarians, without inquiring whether a fitter distribution might not 
be found." G)-am. before 4to Diet. p. 1. But, in the Etymology of his 
Grammar, he makes no enumeration of the parts of speech, and treats only of 
articles, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs ; to which if we add the others, 
according to the common grammarians, or according to his own Dictionary, the 
number will be ten. And this distribution, which was adopted by Dr. Ash about 
1765, by Murray the schoolmaster about 1790, by Caleb Alexander in 1795, and 
approved by Dr. Adam in 1793, has since been very extensively followed ; as 
may be seen in Dr. Crombie's treatise, in the Rev. Matt. Harrison's, and in the 
grammars of Harrison, Staniford, Alden, Coar, John Peirce, E. Devis, C. Adams, 
D. Adams, Chandler, Comly, Jaudon, Ingersoll, Hull, Fuller, Greenleaf, Kirk- 
ham, Ferd. H. Miller, Merchant, Mack, Nutting, Bucke, Beck, Barrett, Barnard, 
Maunder, Webber, Emmons, Hazen, Bingham, Sanders, and many others. Dr. 
Lowth's distribution is the same, except that he placed the adjective after the 

* These are the parts of speech in some late grammars ; as, Butler's, Day's, Frazee : s, Fowle's New, Spear's, 
Weld's, Wells's, and the Well-wishers'. In Frost's Practical Grammar, the words of the language are said to 
be " divided into eight classes," and the names are given thus : " Noun, Article, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb, 
Preposition, Conjunction, and Interjection."!?. 29. But the author afterwards treats of the Adjective, 
between the Article and the Pronoun, just as if he had forgotten to name it, and could not count nine with 
accuracy ! In Perley's Grammar, the parts of speech are a different eight : " namely, Nouns, Adjectives, 
Verbs. Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections, and Particles ! "P. 8. S. W. Clark has Priestley'* 
classes, but calls Interjections " Exclamations." 


pronoun, the conjunction after the preposition, and, like Priestley, called the 
participle ;i verb, thus making the parts of speech nine. He also has been followed 
by many; among whom are Bicknell, Burn, Lennie, Mennye, Lindley Murray, 
Allen, Guy, Churchill, Wilson, Cobbett, Davis, David Blajr, Davenport, Memlen- 
hall, Wileox, Picket, Pond, Russell, Bacon, Bullions, Brace, Hart, Lyon, Tob. H. 
Miller, Alger, A. Flint, Folker, S. Putnam, Cooper, Frost, Goldsbury, Hamlin, 
T. Smith, 11. C. Smith, and Woodworth. But a third part of these, and as many 
more in the preceding list, are confessedly mere modifiers of Murray's compilation ; 
and perhaps, in such a case, those have done best who have deviated least from 
the track of him whom they professed to follow.* 

9 Some seem to have supposed, that by reducing the number of the parts of 
speecli, and of the rules for their construction, the study of grammar would be 
rendered more easy and more profitable to the learner. But this, as would appear 
from the history of the science, is a mere retrogression towards the rudeness of its 
earlier stages. It is hardly worth while to dispute, whether there shall be nine 
parts of speech or ten ; and perhaps enough has already been stated, to establish 
the expediency of assuming the latter number. Every word in the language 
must be included in some class, and nothing is gained by making the classes 
larger and less numerous. In all the artificial arrangements of science, distinctions 
are to be made according to the differences in things ; and the simple question here 
is, what differences among words shall be at first regarded. To overlook, in our 
primary division, the difference between a verb and a participle, is merely to 
reserve for a subdivision, or subsequent explanation, a species of words which most 
grammarians have recognized as a distinct sort in their original classification. 

10. It should be observed that the early period of grammatical science was far 
remote from the days in which English grammar originated. Many things which 
we now teach and defend as grammar, were taught and defended two thousand 
years ago, by the philosophers of Greece and Rome. Of the parts of speech, 
Quintilian, who lived in the first century of our era, gives the following account : 
"For the ancient-. among whom were Aristotlet and Theodectes, treated only of 
verbs, nouns, and conjunctions : as the verb is what we say, and the noun, that of 
which we say it, they judged the power of discourse to be in verbs, and the matter 
in nouns, but the connexion in con/inn-tinns. Little by little, the philosophers, 
and especially the S<<>i<-s. increased the number: first, to the conjunctions were 
added nrtirlfs ; afterwards, prepositions ; to nouns, was added the appellation ; 
then tin- in'nnnnn ; afterwards, as belonging to each verb, the participle ; and, to 
verbs in common, adverbs. Our language [i.e. the Latin] does not require 
article-^, wherefore they are scattered among the other parts of speech ; but there 
is addi'd to the foregoing the inter/rr/in/i. But some, on the authority of good 
authors, make the parts only eight ; as Aristarchus, and, in our day, Palsemon ; who 
have include 1 :'n - vocable, or appellation, with the noun, as a species of it. But 
they who make the noun one and the vocable an other, reckon nine. But there 
are al< some who divide the vocable from the appellation ; making the former to 
signify any thinjr manifest to sight or touch, as house, bed ; and the latter, any 
thing to which either or both are wanting, as wind, heaven, god, virtue. They 
have also added the assert'rntinn and the attrectation, which I do not approve. 
Whether the vocable or appellation should be included with the noun or not, as it 
is a matter of little consequence, I leave to the decision of others." See Quintil. 
delnst Ornt. Lib. i, Cap. 4, :M. 

11. Several writers on English grammar, indulging a strange unsettlement of 
plan, seem not to have determined in thuir own minds, -how many part.- of vpeech 

. w in'lifipr of V - : as a merit, " (tit rtjftin pnrta 

\.'W i ninf t > 'n: -s,Prfposi- 

1 p. 9. 

t Quiiitilhn i Me recognized four parts of 

speech ; verbs, uouus, conjuiictious, and articles. See Aristot. </ . xx. 


there are, or ought to be. Among these are Home Tooke, Webster, Dalton, 
Cardell, Green, and Cobb ; and perhaps, from what he says above, we may add 
the name of Priestley. The present disputation about the sorts of words, has 
been chiefly owing to the writings of Home Tooke, who explains the minor parts 
of speech as mere abbreviations, and rejects, with needless acrimony, the common 
classification. But many have mistaken the nature of his instructions, no less than 
that of the common grammarians. This author, in his third chapter, supposes 
his auditor to say, " But you have not all this while informed me how many parts 
of speech you mean to lay down." To whom he replies, " That shall be as you 
please. Either two, or twenty, or more." Such looseness comported well enough 
with his particular purpose ; because he meant to teach the derivation of words, 
and not to meddle at all with their construction. But who does not see that it is 
impossible to lay down rules for the construction of words, without first dividing 
them into the classes to which such rules apply ? For example : if a man means 
to teach, that, " A verb must agree with its subject, or nominative, in person and 
number," must he not first show the learner what words are verbs ? and ought 
he not to see in this rule a reason for not calling the participle a verb ? Let the 
careless followers of Lowth and Priestley answer. Tooke did not care to preserve 
any parts of speech at all. His work is not a system of grammar ; nor can it be 
made the basis of any regular scheme of grammatical instruction. He who will 
not grant that the same words may possibly be used as different parts of speech, 
must make his parts of speech either very few or very many. This author says, 
11 1 do not allow that any words change their nature in this manner, so as to belong 
sometimes to one part of speech, and sometimes to another, from the different ways 
of using them. I never could perceive any such fluctuation in any word what- 
ever." Diversions of Purley, Vol. i, p. 68. 

12. From his own positive language, I imagine this ingenious author never 
well considered what constitutes the sameness of words, or wherein lies the differ- 
ence of the parts of speech ; and, without understanding these things, a gramma- 
rian cannot but fall into errors, unless he will follow somebody that knows them. 
But Tooke confessedly contradicts and outfaces " all other Grammarians" in the 
passage just cited. Yet it is plain, that the whole science of grammar or at least 
the whole of etymology and syntax, which are its two principal parts is based 
upon a division of words into the parts of speech ; a division which necessarily 
refers, in many instances, the same words to different sections according to the 
manner in which they are used. " Certains mots respondent ainsi, au me me temps, 
a diverses parties d'oraison selon que la grammaire les emploie diversement." 
Buffier, Art. 150. " Some words, from the different ways in which they are used, 
belong sometimes to one part of speech, sometimes to another." McCulloch's 
Gram. p. 37. "And so say all other Grammariaus." Tooke, as above. 

18. The history of Dr. Webster, as a grammarian, is singular. He is remark- 
able for his changeableness, yet always positive ; for his inconsistency, yet very 
learned; for his zeal " to correct popular errors," yet often himself erroneous; 
for his fertility in resources, yet sometimes meagre ; for his success as an author, 
yet never satisfied ; for his boldness of innovation, yet fond of appealing to an- 
tiquity. His grammars are the least judicious, and at present the least popular, 
of his works. They consist of four or five different treatises, which for their mutual 
credit should never be compared : it is impossible to place any firm reliance upon 
the authority of a man who contradicts himself so much. Those who imagine that 
the last opinions of so learned a man must needs be right; will do well to wait, and 
see what will be his last : they cannot otherwise know to what his instructions will 
finally lead. Experience has already taught him the folly of many of his pre- 
tended improvements, and it is probable his last opinions of English grammar will 
be most conformable to that just authority with which he has ever been tampering. 
I do not say that he has not exhibited ingenuity as well as learning, or that he is 


always wrong when he contradicts a majority of the English grammarians ; but I 
iiturc to say, he was wrong when he undertook to disturb the common 
scheme of the parts of speech, as well as when he resolved to spell all words 
exactly as they are pronounced. 

14 ft is not commonly known with how rash a hand this celebrated author has 
sometimes touched the most settled usages of our language. In 1790, which was 
seven yean after the appearance of his first grammar, he published an octavo volume 
of more than four hundred pages, consisting of Essays, moral, historical, political, 
and literary, which might have done him credit, had he not spoiled his book by a 
grammatical whim about the reformation of orthography. Not perceiving that Eng- 
lish literature, multiplied as it had been within two or three centuries, had acquired a 
staliii*v in some degree corresponding to its growth, he foolishly imagined it was 
still as susceptible of change and improvement as in the days of its infancy. Let 
the reader pardon the length of this digression, if for the sake of any future 
schemer who may chance to adopt a similar conceit, I cite from the preface to this 
volume a specimen of the author's practice and reasoning. The ingenious attorney 
had tin; good sense quickly to abandon this project, and content himself with less 
glaring innovations ; else he had never stood as he now does, in the estimation 
of the public. But there is the more need to record the example, because in one 
of the southern states the experiment has recently been tried again. A still abler 
-ame profession, has renewed it but lately ; and it is said there are 
~ome converts to this notion of improvement. I copy literally, 
_ all my readers and his to guess for themselves why he spelled "writers " 
with a w and " rlting " without. 

1" " During the course of ten or twelv yeers, I hav been laboring to cor- 
rect popular errors, and to assist my yung brethren in the road to truth and 
: my publications for theze purposes hav been numerous ; much time haz 
nent, which I do not regret, and much censure incurred, which my hart 
tells me I do not dezerv." * * * ' ' The reeder wil obzerv that the orthog- 
rtii>hi/ of the voluiii iz not uniform. The reezon iz, that many of the essays hav 
been published before, in the common orthography, and it would hav been a labo- 
isk to copy the whole, for the sake of changing the spelling. In the essays 
\ ithin the last yeer. a considerable change of spelling iz introduced by way 
of experiment. This liberty wa/ taken by the writers before the age of queen 
Elizabeth, and to this we are indebted for the preference of modern spelling over 
< lower and Chaucer. The man who admits that the change of housbonde, 
////"/?, mimrtlt into /ms/H/m/, mind, gone, month, izan improovment, must 
50 the riting of hrffh. l>r<'th, rong, tung, munth, to be an improov- 
re iz no alternativ. Every possible reezon that could over be offered for 
altering the spelling of wiirds, stil exists in ful force ; and if a gradual reform 
should ii"t he maile in our language, it wil proov that we are less under the influ- 
ence df ree/.nn than our ancestors." Noah Webster's Essays, Pref. p. xi. 

It'.. IJut let us return, with our author, to the question of the parts of speech. 

! AH that if we do not mean to adopt some less convenient scheme, we 

lint them f<n, and prcM-rve their ancient order as well as their ancient 

: And, after all his vacillation in consequence of reading Home Tooke, it 

would not ! if I>r. WcWer should come at last to the same conclusion. 

not very far from it in l^'J*. a< may be shown by his own testimony, which 

to record. I will give his own words on the point : " There 

! it difficulty in devising a correct ela.-.-ifieation of the several sorts of words j 
ainl probably no classification that shall be simple and at the same time philo- 
sophically C ; !" invented. There aiv BOOM words that do not strictly fall 
under any description of any cla yt d -vi-i.-d. Many attempts have been made 
and are still making to remedy this evil ; but such schemes as I have seen, do not, 
in my apprehension, correct the defects of the old schemes, nor simplify the subject. 


On the other hand, all that I have seen, serve only to obscure and embarrass the 
subject, by substituting new arrangements and new terms which are as incorrect as 
the old ones, and less intelligible. I have attentively viewed these subjects, in all 
the lights which my opportunities have afforded, and am convinced that the distri- 
bution of words, most generally received, is the best that can be formed, with 
some slight alterations adapted to the particular construction of the English lan- 

17. This passage is taken from the advertisement, or preface, to the Grammar 
which accompanies the author's edition of his great quarto Dictionary. Now the 
several schemes which bear his own name, were doubtless all of them among those 
which he had " seen ; " so that he here condemns them all collectively, as he had 
previously condemned some of them at each reformation. Nor is the last exempted. 
For although he here plainly gives his vote for that common scheme which he first 
condemned, he does not adopt it without " some slight alterations; " and in con- 
triving these alterations he is inconsistent with his own professions. He makes 
the parts of speech eight, thus: "1. The name or noun; 2. The pronoun or 
substitute ; 3. The adjective, attribute, or attributive ; 4. The verb ; 5. The ad- 
verb ; 6. The preposition ; 7. The connective or conjunction ; 8. The exclama- 
tion or interjection." In his Rudiments of English Grammar, published in 1811, 
" to unfold the true principles of the language," his parts of speech were seven; 
"viz. 1. Names or nouns; 2. Substitutes or pronouns ; 3. Attributes or adjec- 
tives; 4. Verbs, with their participles ; 5. Modifiers or adverbs ; 6. Prepositions; 
7. Connectives or conjunctions." In his Philosophical and Practical Grammar, 
published in 1807, a book which professes to teach "the only legitimate princi- 
ples, and established usages," of the language, a twofold division of words is 
adopted; first, into two general classes, primary and secondary ; then into "seven 
species or parts of speech," the first two belonging to the former class, the other 
five to the latter ; thus : "1. Names or nouns ; 2. Verbs ; 3. Substitutes ; 4. 
Attributes; 5. Modifiers; 6. Prepositions; 7. Connectives." In his "Im- 
proved Grammar of the English Language," published in 1831, the same scheme is 
retained, but the usual names are preferred. 

18. How many different schemes of classification this author invented, I know 
not ; but he might well have saved himself the trouble of inventing any ; for, so far 
as appears, none of his last three grammars ever came to a second edition. In the 
sixth edition of his " Plain and Comprehensive Grammar, grounded on the true 
principles and idioms of the language," a work which his last grammatical pre- 
face affirms to have been originally fashioned " on the model of Lowth's," the 
parts of speech are reckoned "six; nouns, articles, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, 
and abbreviations or particles." This work, which he says " was extensively used 
in the schools of this country," and continued to be in demand, he voluntarily 
suppressed ; because, after a profitable experiment of four and twenty years, he 
found it so far from being grounded on " true principles," that the whole scheme then 
appeared to him incorrigibly bad. And, judging from this sixth edition, printed in 
1800, the only one which I have seen, I cannot but concur with him in the opinion. 
More than one half of the volume is a loose Appendix composed chiefly of notes 
taken from Lowth and Priestley ; and there is a great want of method in what 
was meant for the body of the work. I imagine his several editions must have 
been different grammars with the same title ; for such things are of no uncommon 
occurrence, and I cannot otherwise account for the assertion that this book was 
compiled " on the model of LowtKs, and on the same principles as [those on 
which] Murray has constructed his." Advertisement in Webster's quarto Diet. 

19. In a treatise on grammar, a bad scheme is necessarily attended with incon- 
veniences for which no merit in the execution can possibly compensate. The first 
thing, therefore, which a skillful teacher will notice in a work of this kind, is the 
arrangement. If he find any difficulty in discovering, at sight, what it is, he will 


be sure it is bad ; for a lucid order is what he lias a right to expect from him who 
pretends to improve upon all the English grammarians. J>r. Webster is not the 
only reader of the EPEA PTEROENTA, who has been thereby prompted to meddle 
with the common scheme of grammar; nor is he the only one who lias attempted 
to simplify the subject by reducing the parts of speech to six. John Dalton of 
Manchester, in 1801, in a small grammar which he dedicated to Home Tooke, 
made them six, but not the same six. He would have them to be, nouns, pro- 
nouns, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, and prepositions. This writer, like Bright- 
land, Tooke, Fisher, and some others, insists on it that the articles are adj< 
Priestley, too, throwing- them out of his classification, and leaving the learner to go 
through his book in ignorance of their rank, at length assigns them to the 
same class, in one of his notes. And so has Dr. Webster fixed them in his late 
valuable, but not faultless, dictionaries. But David Booth, an etymologist perhaps 
equally learned, in his " Introduction to an Analytical Dictionary of the English 
Language," declares them to be of the same species as the pronouns ; from which 
he thinks it strange that they were ever separated ! P. 21. 

2<). Now, what can be more idle, than for teachers to reject the common classi- 
fication of words, and puzzle the heads of school-boys with speculations like these? 
It is easy to admit all that etymology can show to be true, and still justify the 
old arrangement of the elements of grammar. And if we depart from the com- 
mon scheme, where shall we stop ? Some have taught that the parts of speech 
are only /''' : as did the latter stoics, whose classes, according to Priscian and liar- 
articles, nouns appellative, nouns proper, verbs, and conjunctions. 
Others have made them four ; as did Aristotle and the elder stoics, and, more 
recently, Milnes, Brightland, Harris, Ware, Fisher, and the author of a work 
on Universal Grammar, entitled Enclytica. Yet, in naming the four, each of these 
contrives to differ from nil flu- rest ! With Aristotle, they are, "nouns, verbs, 
articles, and conjunctions : " with Milnes, " nouns, ad nouns, verbs, and particles ; " 
with Brightland, "names, qualities, affirmations, and particles;" with Harris, 
' sult:tntives, attributives, definitives, and connectives; " with Ware, " the name, 
the word, the assistant, the connective ; " with Fisher, " names, qualities, verbs, and 
particles ; " with the author of Knclytica, " names, verbs, modes, and connectives." 

But why make the classes so numerous as four? Many of the ancients, Greeks, 
Hebrews, and Arabians, according to Quintilian, made them three ; and these 
thrc's according to A'os.-iu.-. were nouns, verbs, and particles. "Veteres Arabes, 
Ilel r.-i-i. ft (ineci, tres, non amplius, clas>es faciebant ; 1. Nomen, 2. Verbum, 
8. Particula sen IHctio.' 1 I 'ass. de Anal. Lib. i, Cap. 1. 

'1\ N-ir is this number, thn-i'. quite destitute of modern supporters; though most 
of these come at it in an other way. D St. Qnenlin, in his Kudiments of General 
Grammar, published in lSll>, di\ides words into the "three general classes" last 
nientioiH-d ; vi/., "1. Nouns, 2. Verbs, 3. Particles." P. 5. Booth, who pub- 
lished the second edition of his i-tymological work in 1814, examining severally 
the ten part.x of speech, and finding what he supposed to be the true origin of aU 
the words in some of the olaeees, was led to throw one into an other, till he had 
destroyed seven of them. Thru, resolving that each word ought to be cla.-cd 
according to the meaning which its etymology ii.xes upon it, he refers the number 
of elaes to iinhin-, thus : " If, then, each [word] has a mcatumj, and is capable 
of raising an idea in the mind, that idea must have its prototype in nature. It 
must either denote an f./v/v//,//, and is therefoie a verb; or a tjunllty. and is. in 
that MSB, an adjective i or it im ,//////<? of qualities, such a^ is 

observed to belong to >..nie individual obj.-ct. and is, on thi. suppo.-i'ion, the mi me 
of such object, or a //<"///. * * * We have thus given an account of the 
different divisions of words, and have found that the whole n.ay 1 nder 

the three ln-ads of Names. Dualities, and Actions; or Noun.-, Adjectives, and 
Verbs." Litrod. to Analyt. Diet. p. '2'2. 


22. This notion of the parts of speech, as the reader will presently see, found 
an advocate also in the author of the popular little story of Jack Halyard. It 
appears in his Philosophic Grammar published in Philadelphia in 1827. Whether 
the writer borrowed it from Booth, or was led into it by the light of " nature," I 
am unable to say : he does not appear to have derived it from the ancients. Now, 
if either he or the lexicographer has discovered in " nature " a prototype for this 
scheme of grammar, the discovery is only to be proved, and the schemes of all 
other grammarians, ancient or modern, must give place to it. For the reader will 
observe that this triad of parts is not that which is mentioned by Vossius and 
Qnintilian. But authority may by found for reducing the number of the parts of 
speech yet lower. Plato, according to Harris, and the first inquirers into language, 
according to Home Tooke, made them two ; nouns and verbs : which Crombie, 
Dalton, McCulloch, and some others, say, are the only parts essentially necessary 
for the communication of our thoughts. Those who know nothing about grammar, 
regard all words as of one class. To them, a word is simply a word ; and under 
what other name it may come, is no concern of theirs. 

23. Towards this point, tends every attempt to simplify grammar by suppressing 
any of the ten parts of speech. Nothing is gained by it ; and it is a departure 
from the best authority. We see by what steps this kind of reasoning may 
descend ; and we have an admirable illustration of it in the several grammatical 
works of William S. Cardell. I shall mention them in the order in which they 
appeared ; and the reader may judge whether the author does not ultimately arrive 
at the conclusion to which the foregoing series is conducted. This writer, in his 
Essay on Language, reckons seven parts of speech ; in his New- York Grammar, 
six ; in his Hartford Grammar, three principal, with three others subordinate ; in 
his Philadelphia Grammar, three only nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Here he 
alleges, " The unerring plan of nature has established three classes of perceptions, 
and consequently three parts of speech." P. 171. He says this, as if he meant 
to abide by it. But, on his twenty-third page, we are told, " Every adjective is 
either a noun or a participle." Now, by his own showing, there are no participles : 
he makes them all adjectives, in each of his schemes. It follows, therefore, 

all his adjectives, including what others call participles, are nouns. And this 
reduces his three parts of speech to two, in spite of " the unerring plan of nature ! " 
But even this number is more than he well believed in ; for, on the twenty-fir 
page of the book, he affirms, that, " All other terms are but derivative forms anc 
new applications of nouns." So simple a thing is this method of grammar ! But 
Neef, in his zeal for reformation, carries the anticlimax fairly off the brink ; an 
declares, " In the grammar which shall be the work of my pupils, there shall be 
found no nouns, no pronouns, no articles, no participles, no verbs, no preposition 
no conjunctions, no adverbs, no interjection's, no gerunds, not even one single 
supine. Unmercifully shall they be banished from it." Neef's Method of Edi 
cation, p. 60. 

24. When Cardell's system appeared, several respectable men, convinced by 
" his powerful demonstrations," admitted that he had made " many things in the 
established doctrines of the expounders of language appear sufficiently ridicu- 
lous ; "* and willingly lent him the influence of their names, trusting that his 
admirable scheme of English grammar, in which their ignorance saw nothing but 
new truth, would be speedily "perfected and generally embraced."! Being 
invited by the author to a discussion of his principles, I opposed them in his pres- 
ence, both privately and publicly; defending against him, not unsuccessfully, 
those doctrines which time and custom have sanctioned. And, what is remarkable, 
that candid opposition which Cardell himself had treated with respect, and parried 
in vain, was afterwards, by some of his converts, impeached of all unfairness, and 
even accused of wanting common sense. " No one," says Niebuhr, " ever over- 

* The Friend, 1829, Yol. ii, p. 117. t The Friend, Vol. ii, p. 105. 


threw a literary idol, without provokingthe anger of its worshiper*."- Philological 
Museum. Vol. i, p. 489. The certificates given in commendation of this " set of 
Opinions," though they had no extensive effect on the public, showed full well 
that the signers knew little of the history of grammar ; and it is the continual 
repetition of such things, that induces me now to dwell upon its history, for the 
information of tho.-e who are so liable to be deceived by exploded errors repub- 
lished M> novelties. A eulogist says of Cardell, "He had adopted a set of opin- 
ions, which, to most of his readers, appeared entirely new." A reviewer proved, 
that all his pretended novelties are to be found in certain grammars now forgotten, 
or seldom read. The former replies, Then he [Cardell,] is right and the man 
is no less stupid than abusive, who finds fault ; for here is proof that the former 
" had high!-. Me authority for almost every thing he has advanced ! " See 

The Frieii'L Vol. ii, pp. 105 and 116, from which all the quotations in this para- 
graph, except one, are taken. 

25. The reader may now be curious to know what these doctrines were. They 
ummed up by the reviewer, thus : "Our author pretends to have drawn 
principally from his own resources, in making up his books ; and many may have 
supposed there is more mn-clfy in them than there really is. For instance: 1. 
He classes the articles with adjectives; and so did Brightland, Tooke, Fisher, 
Dalton, and Welter. 2. He calls the participles, adjectives; and so did 
Brightland and Tooke. 3. He makes the pronouns, either nouns or adjectives ; 
and so did Adam, Dalton, and others. 4. He distributes the conjunctions among 
the other part.- of speech; and so did Tooke. 5. He rejects the interjections; 
did Valla, Sanctius, and Tooke. 6- He makes the possessive case an 
ami so did Brightland. 7. He says our language has no cases ; and 
did Harris. 8. He calls case, position ; and so did James Brown. 9. He 
Ijectives to two classes, defining and describing ; and so did Dalton. 
. He declares all verbs to be active ; and so did Harris, (in his Hermes, Book 
Chap, ix,) though he admitted the expediency of the common division, and 
t to our author the absurdity of contending about it. Fisher also rejected the 
of neuter verbs, and called them all active. 11. He reduces the moods to 
and the h-nscs to three ; and so did Dalton, in the very same words. Fisher 
also made t' three, but said there are no moods in English. 12. He 

t he impi'rntii'e mood always future ; and so did Harris, in 1751. Nor 
did the doctrine originate with him ; for Brightland, a hundred years ago, [about 
ascribed it to some of his predecessors. 13. He reduces the whole of 
our syntax to about thirty li/ics ; and two thirds of these are useless ; for Dr. 
Johns-m expressed it quite as fully in ten. But their explanations are both good 
nothing ; and Wallis, more wisely, omitted it altogether." The Friend, Vol. 

-' Dr. V, . ~. in a marginal note to the preface of his Philosophical 

ininar, " Since the days of Wftl/is. who published a drammar of the English 
M Latin, in the reign of Charles II. [,] from which Johnson and Lowth 

borrow, d m<>-f "I their rules, little improvement has been made in Knuli.-h gram- 
mar. Lowth supplied MM valuable criticisms, mo-t of which however respect 
; bur many of his criticisms are extremely erroneous, and they 
have had an ill effect, in perverting the true idioms of our lauiMia-r. IY 
furnished a number of new and useful observations on the peculiar phrases of the 
En ( trli.-li lan-na^e. To which may be added some good remarks of Blair and 
Campbell, interspersed with many errors. Murray, not having mounted to the 
original >>urcr> "t' inform;. Vet and nuance the rules 

has furnished little or nothing new. Of the 

numerous compilations of inferior character, it may be affirmed, that they have 
added nothing to the stock of grammatical knowledge." And the concluding 
sentence of this work, as well as of his Improved Grammar, published in 1831, 


extends the censure as follows : " It is not the English language only whose history 
and principles are yet to be illustrated ; but the grammars and dictionaries of all 
other languages, with which I have any acquaintance, must be revised and corrected, 
before their elements and true construction can be fully understood." In an ad- 
vertisement to the grammar prefixed to his quarto American Dictionary, the Doctor 
is yet more severe upon books of this sort. " I close," says he, " with the single 
remark, that from all the observations I have been able to make, I am convinced 
the dictionaries and grammars which have been used in our seminaries of learning 
for the last forty or fifty years, are so incorrect and imperfect that they have in- 
troduced or sanctioned more errors than they have amended ; in other words, had 
the people of England and of these States been left to learn the pronunciation and 
construction of their vernacular language solely by tradition, and the reading of 
good authors, the language would have been spoken and written with more purity 
than it has been and now is, by those who have learned to adjust their language 
by the rules which dictionaries prescribe." 

27. Little and much are but relative terms ; yet when we look back to the 
period in which English grammar was taught only in Latin, it seems extravagant 
to say, that " little improvement has been made " in it since. I have elsewhere 
expressed a more qualified sentiment. " That the grammar of our language has 
made considerable progress since the days of Swift, who wrote a petty treatise on 
the subject, is sufficiently evident ; but whoever considers what remains to be done, 
cannot but perceive how ridiculous are many of the boasts and felicitations which 
we have heard on that topic."* Some further notice will now be taken of that 
progress, and of the writers who have been commonly considered the chief promo- 
ters of it, but especially of such as have not been previously mentioned in a like 
connexion. Among these may be noticed William Walker, the preceptor of Sir 
Isaac Newton, a teacher and grammarian of extraordinary learning, who died in 
1684. He has left us sundry monuments of his taste and critical skill : one is his 
" Treatise of English Particles," a work of great labour and merit, but useless 
to most people now-a-days, because it explains the English in Latin ; an other, his 
"Art of Teaching Improv'd," which is also an able treatise, and apparently 
well adapted to its object, " the Grounding of a Young Scholar in the Latin 
Tongue." In the latter, are mentioned other works of his, on " Rhetorick, and 
Logick" which I have not seen. 

28. In 1706, Richard Johnson published an octavo volume of more than four 
hundred pages, entitled, " Grammatical Commentaries ; being an Apparatus to a 
New National Grammar : by way of animadversion upon the falsities, obscurities, 
redundancies and defects of Lily's System now in use." This is a work of great 
aeuteness, labour, and learning ; and might be of signal use to any one who shoul( 
undertake to prepare a new or improved Latin grammar : of which, in my opinion, 
have yet urgent need. The English grammarian may also peruse it with advantage, 
if he has a good knowledge of Latin and without such knowledge he must be ill 
prepared for his task. This work is spoken of and quoted by some of the early 
English grammarians ; but the hopes of the writer do not appear to have been 
realized. His book was not calculated to supply the place of the common one; 
for the author thought it impracticable to make a new grammar, suitable for boys, 
and at the same time to embrace in it proofs sufficient to remove the prejudices of 
teachers in favour of the old. King Henry's edict in support of Lily, was yet 
in force, backed by all the partiality which long habit creates ; and Johnson's learn- 
ing, and labour, and zeal, were admired, and praised, and soon forgot. 

29. Near the beginning of the last century, some of the generous wits of the 
reign of Queen Anne, seeing the need there was of greater attention to their 
vernacular language, and of a grammar more properly English than any then in 

* See tho Preface to my Compendious English Grammar in the American edition of the Treasury of Knowl- 
edge, Vol. i, p. 8. 


use, produced a book with which the later writers on the same subjects, would have 
done well to have made themselves better acquainted. It is entitled "A Grammar 
of the English Tongue ; with the Arts of Logick, Rhetorick, Poetry, &c. Illus- 
trated witli u-efiii Notes ; giving the Grounds and Reasons of Grammar in General. 
The Whole making a Compleat System of an English Education. Published by 
JOHN Hi;i;iLTLAND, for the Use of the Schools of Great Britain and Ireland." It 
is ingfniously recommended in a certificate by Sir Richard Steele, or the Tattler, 
under the fictitious name of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., and in a poem of forty-three 
lines, by Nahum Tate, poet laureate to her Majesty. It is a duodecimo volume of 
three hundred pages ; a work of no inconsiderable merit and originality ; and written 
in a style which, though not faultless, has scarcely been surpassed by any English 
grammarian since. I quote it as Brightland's :* who were the real authors, 
does not appear. It seems to be the work of more than one, and perhaps the 
writers of the Tattler were the men. My copy is of the seventh edition, London, 
printed for Henry Lintot, 1746. It is evidently the work of very skillful hands ; 
yet is it not in all respects well planned or well executed. It unwisely reduces 
the parts of speech to four ; gives them new names ; and rejects more of the old 
system than the schools could be made willing to give up. Hence it does not ap- 
pear to have been very extensively adopted. 

30. It is now about a hundred aud thirty years, since Dr. Swift, in a public 
remonstrance addressed to the Earl of Oxford, complained of the imperfect state 
of our language, and alleged in particular, that " in many instances it offended against 
every part of grammar "1 J'ifty years afterward, Dr. Lowth seconded this com- 
plaint, and pressed it home upon the polite and the learned. " Does he mean," 
says the latter, " that the English language, as it is spoken by the politest part of the 
nation, and a< it stands in the writings of the most approved authors, often offends 
against every part of grammar '( Thus far, I am afraid the chary e is true" 
Lowth' s Gram. /V//. p. iv. Yet the learned Doctor, to whom much praise has 
been justly ascribed for the encouragement which he gave to this neglected study, 
attempted nothing more than "A Short Introduction to English Grammar;'* 
which, he says, " was calculated for the learner even of the lowest class: " and 
those who would enter more deeply into the subject, he referred to Harris; whose 
work is not an English grammar, but "A Philosophical Inquiry concerning Uni- 
' Grammar." Lowth's Grammar was first published in 1758. At the com- 
mencement of his preface, the reverend author, after acknowledging the enlarge- 
ment, polish, and refinement, which the language had received during the preced- 
ing two bundled years, ventures to add, "but, whatever other improvements it 
may have received, it hath made no advances in grammatical accuracy." I do 
not ijiiute this a-.-'.-rtimi to aiVinn it literally true, in all its apparent breadth; but 
there i- -r of the correctness even now attained, than to believe 

that the writers <>n irrammar are not the authors who have in general come nearest 

* Soni'' .-htlaml himself was the writer of this grammar ; but to suppose him the sole author, 

hardly r..mpor'- to the Queen, hy her " im.-t ol.edient and Dutiful Sut>j,cts, the Authors;" 

or with the manner in which these are spoken of, in the following lines, by the laureate : 

.hat Thank.-, what l'rai-e< mu^t attend 

. who Mill- could condescend ! 
Skill, that to An'- -uMime-t Orh e.m reach, 
Km i ich! 

we know 
To mine Their Country's Fame they stoop'd so low." TATE. 

Ml, in hi> Philosophy of l!het..ric. pnire l. r ,*th, makes a difficulty respecting the meaning of thia 
cites it as an r 'pplioafion of the term i^nnnrnnr ; and supposes tin- v.rir.-r's notion 

>in_' to h;i\e |,eeii. ot grammar in the :it..-t i:\i-t. ,1,1 uni ver.-al arhe;\pe b\ which the particular 
r-iofali l" And add.-. If this wa* hi- i< not Pay 

he is in the right or in the wrong, in this ac- nsation. I acki -if to !'< entirely ignorant 

this ideal grammar." It would be more fair to suppo-e that Dr. Swift meant by " t;rnt/itniir," ! the rules 
.iiul principles according to whi--h the Kngli-h language ought to bespoken and "written ; and. (as I shall 
Hereafter show.) it is i. .'let.. atVirm, tha- every part of the code nay, well -nigh e\ery one of 

:hese rules and principle- i-, in many instances, violated, if not hv what may be called the language itself, 
it least by those speakers and writers who are under the strongest obligations to know and observe its true use. 


to it in practice. Nor have the ablest authors always produced the best compends 
for the literary instruction of youth. 

31. The treatises of the learned doctors Harris, Lowth, Johnson, Ash, Priestley, 
Home Tooke, Crombie, Coote, and Webster, owe their celebrity not so much to 
their intrinsic fitness for school instruction, as to the literary reputation of the 
writers. Of Harris's Hermes, (which, in comparison with our common grammars, 
is indeed a work of much ingenuity and learning, full of interesting speculations, 
and written with great elegance both of style and method,) Dr. Lowth says, it is 
" the most beautiful and perfect example of analysis, that has been exhibited since 
the days of Aristotle." Pref. to Gram. p. x. But these two authors, if their 
works be taken together, as the latter intended they should be, supply no sufficient 
course of English grammar. The instructions of the one are too limited, and those 
of the other are not specially directed to the subject. 

32. Dr. Johnson, who was practically one of the greatest grammarians that ever 
lived, and who was very nearly coetaneous with both Harris and Lowth, speaks of 
the state of English grammar in the following terms : "I found our speech copious 
without order, and eriergetick without rules : wherever I turned my view, there 
was perplexity to be disentangled, and confusion to be regulated." Pref. to 
Diet. p. 1. Again : " Having therefore no assistance but from general grammar, 
I applied myself to the perusal of our writers ; and noting whatever might be of 
use to ascertain or illustrate any word or phrase, accumulated in time the materials 
of a dictionary." Ibid. But it is not given to any one man to do every thing; 
else, Johnson had done it. His object was, to compile a dictionary, rather than 
to compose a grammar, of our language. To lexicography, grammar is necessary, 
as a preparation ; but, as a purpose, it is merely incidental. Dr. Priestley speaks 
of Johnson thus : " I must not conclude this preface, without making my acknowl- 
edgements to Mr. Johnson, whose admirable dictionary has been of the greatest 
use to me in the study of our language. It is pity he had not formed as just, and 
.as extensive an idea of English grammar. Perhaps this very useful work may 
still be reserved for his distinguished abilities in this way." Priestley's Gram. 
ip. xxiii. Dr. Johnson's English Grammar is all comprised in fourteen pages, and 
<of course it is very deficient. The syntax he seems inclined entirely to omit, as 
(he says) Wallis did, and Ben Jonson had better done ; but, for form's sake, he 
condescends to bestow upon it ten short lines. 

33. My point here is, that tbe best grammarians have left much to be done by him 
who may choose to labour for the further improvement of English grammar ; and 
that a man may well deserve comparative praise, who has not reached perfection in 
a science like this. Johnson himself committed many errors, some of which I shall 
hereafter expose ; yet I cannot conceive that the following judgement of his works 
was penned without some bias of prejudice : " Johnson's merit ought not to be 
denied to him ; but his dictionary is the most imperfect and faulty, and the least 
valuable of any* of .his productions; and that share of merit which it possesses, 
makes it by so much the more hurtful. I rejoice, however, that though the least 
valuable, he found it the most profitable : for I could never read his preface without 
shedding a tear. And yet it must be confessed, that his grammar and history 
and dictionary of what he calls the English language, are in all respects (except 
the bulk of the latter^) most truly contemptible performances; and a reproach to 
the learning and industry of a nation which could receive them, with the slightest 
approbation. Nearly one third of this dictionary is as much the language of the 
Hottentots as of the English ; and it would be no difficult matter so to translate 
any one of the plainest and most popular numbers of the Spectator into the language 
of this dictionary, that no mere Englishman, though well read in his own language, 

* The phrase " of any " is here erroneous. These words ought to have been omitted ; or the author should 
have said " the least valuable of all his productions." 
t Tbis word latter should have been last ; for three works are here spoken of. 



would be able to comprehend one sentence of it. It appears to be a work of 
labour, and jet is in truth one of the most idle performances ever offered to the 
public ; compiled by an author who possessed not one single requisite for the 
undertaking, and (being a publication of a set of booksellers) owing its sucr- 
that very circumstance which alone must make it impossible that it should deserve 
success." Tookes Diversions of Parley, Vol. i, p. 182. 

34. Dr. Ash's " Grammatical Institutes, or Easy Introduction to Dr. Lowth's 
English Grammar, is a meagre performance, the ease of which consists in nothing 
but its brevity. Dr. Priestley, who in the preface to his third edition acknowledges 
hi.s obligations to Johnson, and also to Lowth, thought it premature to attempt an 
English grammar ; and contented himself with publishing a few brief " Rudiments," 
with a loose appendix consisting of " Notes and Observations, for the use of those 
who have made some proficiency in the language." He says, ''With respect to 
our own language, there seems to be a kind of claim upon all who make use of it, 
to do siMiiL'thing for its improvement ; and the best thing we can do for this purpose 
at present, is, to exhibit its actual structure, and the varieties with which it is used. 
When these are once distinctly pointed out, and generally attended to, the best 
forms of speech, and those which are most agreeable to the analogy of the language, 
will soon recommend themselves, and come into general use; and when, by this 
means, the language shall be written with sufficient uniformity, we may hope to 
see a complete grammar of it. At present, it is by no means ripe for such a 
work ; * but we may approximate to it very fast, if all persons who are qualified to 
make remarks upon it, will give a little attention to the subject. In such a case, 
a few years might be sufficient to complete it." Priestley's Gram. Pref. p. xv. 
In point of time, both Ash and Priestley expressly claim priority to Lowth, for 
their first editions; but the former having allowed his work to be afterwards 
entitled an Introduction to Lowth's, and the latter having acknowledged some 

provements in his from the same source, they have both been regarded as later 

35. The great work of the learned etymologist John Home Tooke, consists of 
two octavo volumes, entitled, " EPEA PTEROENTA, or the Diversions of Purley." 
This work explains, with admirable sagacity, the origin and primitive import of 
many of the most common yet most obscure English words ; and is, for that 
reason, a valuable performance. But as it contains nothing respecting the 
construction of the language, and embraces no proper system of grain n 
doctrines, it is a great error to suppose that the common principles of practical 
grammar ought to give place to such instructions, or even be modelled according 
to what the author proves to be true in respect to the origin of particular words. 
The common grammarians were less confuted by him, than many of his readers 
have imagined ; and it ought not to be forgotten that his purpose was as different 
from theirs, as are their schemes of Grammar from the plan of his critical " Diver- 
sions." In this connexion may be mentioned an other work of similar size and 
purpose, but more comprehensive in design; the "History of European Lan- 

}," by that astonishing linguist the late Dr. Alexander Murray. This work 

* With this opinion 
Verb, a: iinrv rhai 

!- forming an K 

the renown'. I Ik-n .ln.-on, and one 

a noble J 
I at that perkx 

since that tiin 'h appeal 

'"as ti'ii'linir to illustrate o 
Intpi'lurrion to Language-. 
Dr. Warl'- K--.-i\ s -.ipon th English 
8ut.j<Tt : all which he h.-r! 
wirii-r:i:..lin_- all these aids, aomethlo 
rendfr'd inetl. 
have no Moods ; and the other, thut 

tin.'- \\Tiite, author of a Grammatical Essay on the English 
dred pages. puMished in London in 1761. This aurh 

ot been very many : from the reign of Queen 
'iiirof the PrMMit knows of ; mu- in Kn 
rn'd Dr U'allis. In the reign of Queen Ann 
Kinulati"!! in this Literary way ; and to this we owe 
-!-. u Brightiaad, Greenwood, and Margin-. lint, 

Iranmiar ..;' 
l.'.-mrnt nf oil 

These are all the Treatises he hath met with, relative to thia 
id made the best use of them in his power. But not- 
>HJ done, at least it so appears to him, preparatory to 

Language. All our efforts of this kin. I -eern to have been 
"oMonH : one of which is, that our Verbs 

age bath no Syntax." Wiute't English, Verb, p. viii. 


was left unfinished by its lamented author ; but it will remain a monument of 
erudition never surpassed, acquired in spite of wants and difficulties as great as 
diligence ever surmounted. Like Tooke's volumes, it is however of little use to 
the mere English scholar. It can be read to advantage only by those who are 
acquainted with several other languages. The works of Orombie and Ooote are 
more properly essays or dissertations, than elementary systems of grammar. 

36 The number of English grammars has now become so very great, that not 
even a general idea of the comparative merits or defects of each can here be given. 
I have examined with some diligence all that I have had opportunity to obtain ; 
but have heard of several which I have never yet seen. Whoever is curious to 
examine at large what has been published on this subject, and thus to qualify 
himself to judge the better of any new grammar, may easily make a collection of 
one or two hundred bearing different names. There are also many works not called 
grammars, from which our copyists have taken large portions of their compilations. 
Thus Murray confessedly copied from ten authors ; five of whom are Beattie, Sheri- 
dan, Walker, Blair, and Campbell. Dr. Beattie, who acquired great celebrity as 
a teacher, poet, philosopher, and logician, was well skilled in grammar ; but he 
treated the subject only in critical disquisitions, and not in any distinct elementary 
work adapted to general use. Sheridan and Walker, being lexicographers, confined 
themselves chiefly to orthography and pronunciation. Murray derived sundry prin- 
ciples from the writings of both ; but the English Grammar prepared by the latter, 
was written, I think, several years later than Murray's. The learned doctors Blair 
and Campbell wrote on rhetoric, and not on the elementary parts of grammar. 
Of the two, the latter is by far the more accurate writer. Blair is fluent and easy, 
but he furnishes not a little false syntax ; Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric is 
a very valuable treatise. To these, and five or six other authors whom I have 
noticed, was Lindley Murray " principally indebted for his materials." Thus far 
of the famous contributors to English grammar. The Lectures on Rhetoric and 
Oratory, delivered at Harvard University by John Quincy Adams, and published 
in two octavo volumes in 1810, are such as do credit even to that great man ; but 
they descend less to verbal criticism, and enter less into the peculiar province 
of the grammarian, than do most other works of a similar title. 

37. Some of the most respectable authors or compilers of more general systems 
of English grammar for the use of schools, are the writer of the British Grammar, 
Bicknell, Buchanan, William Ward, Alexander Murray the schoolmaster, Mennye, 
Fisher, Lindley Murray, Fenning, Allen, Grant, David Blair, Lennie, Guy, 
Churchill. To attempt any thing like a review or comparative estimate of the 
would protract this introduction beyond all reasonable bounds ; and still other 
would be excluded, which are perhaps better entitled to notice. Of mere modifit 
and abridgers, the number is so great, and the merit or fame so little, that I will n< 
trespass upon the reader's patience by any further mention of them or their works. 
Whoever takes an accurate and comprehensive view of the history and present 
state of this branch of learning, though he may not conclude, with Dr Priestley, 
that it is premature to attempt a complete grammar of the language, can scarcely 
forbear to coincide with Dr. Barrow, in the opinion that among all the treatises 
heretofore produced no such grammar is found. " Some superfluities have been 
expunged, some mistakes have been rectified, and some obscurities have been 
cleared ; still, however, that all the grammars used in our different schools, public as 
well as private, are disgraced by errors or defects, is a complaint as just as it is 
frequent and loud." Barrow's Essays, p. 83. 

38. Whether, in what I have been enabled to do, there will be found a remedy for 
this complaint, must be referred to the decision of others. Upon the probability 
of effecting this, I have been willing to stake some labour ; how much, and with 
what merit, let the candid and discerning, when they shall have examined for 
themselves, judge. It is certain that we have hitherto had, of our language, no 



complete grammar. The need of such a work I suppose to be at this time in no 
small degree felt, especially by those who conduct our higher institutions of learn- 
ing ; and my ambition has been to produce one which might deservedly stand along 
side of the Port-Royal Latin and Greek Grammars, or of the Grammaire des 
Grammaires of Girault du Vivier. If this work is unworthy to aspire to such 
rank, let the patrons of English literature remember that the achievement of my 
design is still a desideratum. We surely have no other book which might, in any 
sense, have been called " the Grammar of English Grammars ;" none, which, 
either by excellence, or on account of the particular direction of its criticism, might 
take such a name. I have turned the eyes of Grammar, in an especial manner, upon 
the conduct of her own household ; and if, from this volume, the reader acquire a 
more just idea of the ynnnttmr which is displayed in English grammars, he will dis- 
cover at least one reason for the title which has been bestowed upon the work. Such 
as the book is, I present it to the public, without pride, without self-seeking, and 
without anxiety : knowing that most of my readers will be interested in estimating 
itjxsfly ; that no true service, freely rendered to learning, can fail of its end ; and 
that no achievement merits aught with Him who graciously supplies all ability. 
The opinions expressed in it have been formed with candour, and are offered with 
submission. If in any thing they are erroneous, there are those who can detect their 
faults. In the language of an ancient master, I invite the correction of the 
candid : " Nos quoque, quantumcunque diligentes, cum a candidis tiim a lividis 
carpemur : a candidis interdum juste ; quos oro, ut de erratis omnibus amice me 
admoneant erro nonnunquam quiahomo sum." Despauter. 

New York, 1836. 





GRAMMAR, as an art, is the power of reading, writing, and speaking 
correctly. As an acquisition, it is the essential skill of scholarship. As a 
study, it is the practical science which teaches the right use of language. 
ir is a book which professes to explain the nature 

and structure of the English language ; and to show, on just authority, what 
is. :ui I what i< not, good English. 

K\>;LISII GRAMMAR, in itself, is the art of reading, writing, and speaking 
the English language correctly. It implies, in the adept, such knowledge 
as enables him to avoid improprieties of speech ; to correct any errors that 
may occur in literary compositions ; and to parse, or explain grammatically, 
whatsoever is rightly written. 

To read is to perceive what is written or printed, so as to understand 
the words, and be able to utter them with their proper sounds. 

To write is to express words and thoughts by letters, or characters, made 
with a pen or other instrument. 

To fsj-'t/c i< to utter words orally, in order that they may be heard and 

f Grammar, like every other liberal art, can be properly taught only by 
a regular analysis, or systematic elucidation, of its component parts or 
prim-, pies ; and these parts or principles* must be made known chiefly by 
means of definitions and examples, rules and exercises. 

A j if any thing or class of things is such a description 

of it, as distinguishes that entire thing or class from every thing else, by 
briefly telling n'iuit it is. 

An H a particular instance or model, serving to prove or illus- 

trate sonic given proposition or truth. 

A /-//A "/' iirmnmnr is some law, more or less general, by which custom 
regulates and prescribes the right use of language. 

An is some technical performance required of the learner in 

order to bring his knowledge and skill into practice. 

LAN in the primitive sense of the term, embraced only vocal ex- 

pression, or human speech uttered by the mouth ; but after letters were 
invented to represent articulate sounds, language became twofold, spoken 


and written ; so that the term, language, now signifies, any series of sounds 
or letters formed into words and employed for the expression of thought. 

Of the composition of language we have also two kinds, prose and 
verse ; the latter requiring a certain number and variety of syllables in 
each line, but the former being free from any such restraint. 

The least parts of written language are letters ; of spoken language, 
syllables ; of language significant in each part, words ; of language com- 
bining thought, phrases ; of language subjoining sense, clauses ; of language 
completing sense, sentences. 

A discourse, or narration, of any length, is but a series of sentences ; 
which, when written, must be separated by the proper points, that the 
meaning and relation of all the words may be quickly and clearly per- 
ceived by the reader, and the whole be uttered as the sense requires. 

In extended compositions, a sentence is usually less than a paragraph ; 
a paragraph, less than a section ; a section, less than a chapter ; a chapter, 
less than a book ; a book, less than a volume ; and a volume, less than the 
entire work. 

The common order of literary division, then, is ; of a large work, into 
volumes ; of volumes, into books ; of books, into chapters ; of chapters, into 
sections ; of sections, into paragraphs ; of paragraphs, into sentences ; 
of sentences, into clauses ; of clauses, into phrases ; of phrases, into 
words ; of words, into syllables ; of syllables, into letters. 

But it rarely happens that any one work requires the use of all these 
divisions ; and we often assume some natural distinction and order of 
parts, naming each as we find it; and also subdivide into articles, verses, 
cantoes, stanzas, and other portions, as the nature of the subject suggests. 

Grammar is divided into four parts ; namely, Orthography, Etymology, 
Syntax, and Prosody. 

Orthography treats of letters, syllables, separate words, and spelling. 

Etymology treats of the differentials of speech, with their classes and 

Syntax treats of the relation, agreement, government, and arrangement 
of words in sentences. 

Prosody treats of punctuation, utterance, figures, and versification. 


OBS. 1. In the Introduction to this work, have been taken many views of the 
study, or general science, of grammar ; many notices of its history, with STindry criti- 
cisms upon its writers or critics ; and thus language has often been presented to the 
reader's consideration, either as a whole, or with broader scope than belongs to the 
teaching of its particular forms. We come now to the work of analyzing our own 
tongue, and of laying down those special rules and principles which should guide us in 
the use of it, whether in speech or in writing. The author intends to dissent from 
other grammarians no more than they are found to dissent from truth and reason ; nor 
will he expose their errors further than is necessary for the credit of the science and the 
information of the learner. A candid critic can have no satisfaction merely in linding 
fault with other men's performances. But the facts are not to be concealed, that many 
pretenders to grammar have shown themselves exceedingly superficial in their knowl- 
edge, as well as slovenly in their practice ; and that many vain composers of books 
have proved themselves d^jtlm-rs of this study, by the abundance of their inaccuracies, 
and the obviousness of their solecisms. 

OBS. 2. Some grammarians have taught that the word language is of much broader 
signification, than that which is given to it in the definition above. I confine it to 
speech and writing. For the propriety of this limitation, and against those authors who 
describe the thing otherwise, I appeal to the common sense of mankind. One late 
writer defines it thus : " LANGUAGE is any means by which one person communicates his 


to another." Sanders' Spelling -Book, p. 7. Dr. Webster goes much further, and 
says ''LANGUAGE, in ite most extensive sense, is the instrument or means of commu- 
nicating ideas ami (tjfi-efiotts of the mind and body, from one animal to another. In this 
sense, brutes possess the power of language ; for by various inarticulate sounds, they make 
known their wants, desires, and sufferings." Philosophical dram.\). 11 ; Imj>rorcd dram. 
p. ";. This latter definition the author of that vain book, "//// Dint rid School" has 
adopted in his chapter on Grammar. Sheridan, the celebrated actor and orthoi'pist, 
though he --ei ms to confine language to the human s])eeies. gives it such an extension as to 
make- words no necessary part of its essence. " The first thought," says he, " that would 
occur to every one, who had not properly considered the point, is, that language is 
compo-i-d of words. And yet, this is so far from being an adequate idea of language, that 
the point in which most men think its very essence to consist, is not even a necessary 
property of language. For language, in its full extent, means, any way or method 
whatsoever, by which all that y/^ssr.s /// the mind of one man, may be manifested to 
another. "Sheriilans Lectures on F.lwution, p. 129. Again : "I have already xhoint, that 
words are, in their own nature, no essential part of language, and arc only considered 
so through custom." Ib. p. 135. 

OKS. :;. According to S. Kirkham's notion, "LANGUAGE, in its most extensive sense, 

. implies those signs by which men and brutes, communicate to each other their thoughts, 

;ions and desires." Kirkhum's Kiigliah drain, p. 16. Again: " The language f 

bruffft consists in the use of those inarticulate sounds by which they express their thoughts 

Ib. To me it seems a shameful abuse of speech, and a vile descent 

from the dignity of grammar, to make the voiqes of "brutes" any part of language, as 

taken in a literal sense. NYe might with far more propriety raise our conceptions of it to 

the spheres above, and construe literally the metaphors of David, who ascribes to the 

starry heavens, both "speech" said " lungn " and " words" daily " uttered " 

and everywhere " h'-ard." See I'talm xix. 

;. l!ut, strange as it may seem, Kirkham, commencing his instructions with the 

definition of language, proceeds to divide it, agreeably to this notion, into two 

'/(if and artificial and affirms that the former " is common both to man and 

brute," and that the language which is peculiar to man, the language which, consists of 

altogether an artificial invention : * thereby contradicting at once a host of the 

I grammarians and philosophers, and that without appearing to know it. 

llur thisil rranuv, since he immediately forgets his own definition and division 

iecr, and as plainly contradicts himself. Without limiting the term at all, 

without excluding his fanciful "language of brutes" he says, on the next leaf, " Lan- 

, and not only inceiited, but, in its progressive advancement, raried 

..raetieul cunrcnience. Hence it assumes any and ever;/ form which those 

who make u^e of it, choose to give it." Kir!; hum's dram. p. 18. This, though scarcely 

more rational than his " nafnral Ian-; ,md brufen," plainly annihilates thatques- 

tioi. _nimmatical science, whether brutal or human, by making all lan- 

a ihiiiLr conventional" and " inn-ntnl." In short, it leaves no ground at all for 

any grammatical science of a positive character, because it resolves all forms of language 

into the irresponsible will of those who utter any words, sounds, or n 

( )u>. '>. Nor ix this gentleman more fortunate in his explanation of what may really 

be called I On one pa^r, \\<- B8 / lannuage, or tij>eech, is made up of 

articulate w,,nmU uttered by the human voice." Kirkham's dram. p. 1". On the next, 

"The mo-t important use of that facnltij called xjieci-h, is, to convey our thoughts to 

other>." /'-. ]>. IS. Thus the irrammarian who, in the same short paragraph, seems to 

Miiity of man to give his words any other meaning than that which he 

. ]>. 1!). ) eitlu r \\ -rites so badly as to make any ordinary 

trivial, or actually conceives man tube the inventor of one of his own 

t make man the contriver of that "natural language 1 " which 

union with the Unites:" a lanu r uau r e " '/'//,- )ne<iniii<j of irhirh" he SBYS, 

';/ undersfit' nis (ira/n. p. l(i. And if this notion 

it a hor-c kno\vs j.erfectly well what horned cattle 

u by their bellowing, or a Hock of geese by their gabbling? I should not have 

* A similar .l.."iim-. h<.w.-vrr. is tMijfh' Q author than " rh.- II. -v. A!-x:ui.liT ''roniLif, LL. D.," 

who Ba\s, in thr i Kluction, " LA: r Intelligible elgnB, and la thi 

dim.:. , r inartirula-T : artificial or nat- 

urnl t . By inarticulHte lanpuage, we 

mean those iustiin -i-il-i-s of infi-iim- rn-:itiir- - their 

; : ! cf Fiinjile 

i-ly ci.iiilpiii.Mi.---- Treatitt </! ti 
riue al.-i. in // I' 1-il- '1'he Ian- 

Clia^c wlii, >. m tliat in \\hirli .1 

;!>!>. talked ;i langu.T_'i- (juirt On the <.tlier hand, that Mkicli 

is couij /o. only, aud not of letters, includes but a mere fractiou of the :-deuce. 


noticed these things, had not the book which teaches them, been made popular by a 
thousand imposing attestations to its excellence and accuracy. For grammar has nothing 
at all to do with inarticulate voices, or the imaginary languages of brutes. It is scope 
enough for one science to explain all the languages, dialects, and speeches, that lay 
claim to reason. We need not enlarge the field, by descending 

" To beasts, whom * God on their creation-day 
Created mute to all articulate sound." Milton.^ 



ORTHOGRAPHY treats of letters, syllables, separate words, and spelling. 


A Letter is an alphabetic character, which commonly represents some 
elementary sound of the human voice. 

An elementary sound of the human voice, is one of the simple sounds 
which compose a spoken language. 

The sound of a letter is commonly called its power : when any letter of 
a word is not sounded, it is said to be silent or mute. 

The letters in the English alphabet, are twenty-six ; the simple sounds 
which they represent, are about thirty-six. 

A knowledge of the letters consists in an acquaintance with these four 
sorts of things ; their names, their classes, their powers, and their forms. 

The letters are written, or printed, or painted, or engraved, in an infinite 
variety of shapes and sizes ; and yet are always the same, because their 
names and powers do not change. 

The following are some of the different sorts of types, or letters, with 
which every reader should be early acquainted : 

1. The Roman : A a, B b, C c, D d, E e, F f, G g, H h, I i, J j, K k, 
L 1, M m, N n, o, P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, W w, X x, Y y, 

2. The Italic : A a, B b, O c, D d, E e, F f, G- g, Eh, li, Jj, Kk, 
LI, Mm, Nn, o, P p, Q q, Rr, S s, T t, U u, Vv, Ww, X x, 

3. The Script: ^ 

4. The Old English: 31 a, JJ I), (S C, b, < e, J f, g, f) Ij, 
J t, 3 ], K If, C 1, iH m, N n, o, fl p, q, K r, S\ a t, 
H n, i) , IB nj, X *, 8 a, 2 }. 

* The pronoun whom is not properly applicable to beasts, unless they are personified : the relative which 
would therefore have been preferable here. G. B. 

f'The great difference between men and brutes, in the utterance of sound by the mouth, consists in the 
power of articulation in man, and the entire want of it in brutes." Websttrs Improved Gram. p. 8. 



OBS. 1. A letter consists not in the figure only, or in the power only, but in the figure 
and power united ; as an erabassador consists not in the man only, or in the commission 
only, but in the man commissioned. The figure and the power, therefore, are neces- 
sary to constitute the letter ; and a name is as necessary, to tell what it is. The class 
of a letter is determined by the nature of its power, or sound ; as the embassador is 
plenipotentiary or otherwise, according to the extent of his commission. To all but 
the deaf and dumb, written language is the representative of that which is spoken ; so 
that, in the view of people in general, the powers of the letters are habitually identified 
witli their sounds, and are conceived to be nothing else. Hence any given sound, or 
modification of sound, which all men can produce at pleasure, when abitrarily asso- 
ciated with a written sign, or conventional character, constitutes what is called a 
. Thus we may produce the sounds of a, e, o, then, by a particular compression of 
the organs of utterance, modify them all, into ba, be, bo, orfa,fe,fo; and we shall see 
that a, e, and o, are letters of one sort, and b and /, of an other. By elementary or 
arficuhtte sounds,* then, we mean not only the simple tones of the voice itself, but the 
modifying stops and turns which are given them in speech, and marked by letters : the 
real voices constituting vowels ; and their modifications, consonants. 

2. A mere mark to which no sound or power is ever given, cannot be a letter; 
though it may, like the marks used for punctuation, deserve a name and a place in 
grammar. Commas, semicolons, and the like, represent silence, rather than sounds, and 
are therefore not letters. Nor are the Arabic figures, which represent entire words, nor 
again any symbols standing for things, (as the astronomic marks for the sun, the moon, 
the planets,) to be confounded with letters; because the representative of any word 
or number, of any name or thing, differs widely in its power, from the sign of a simple 
elementary sound : i. e. from any constituent part of a written word. The first letter 
of a word or name does indeed sometimes stand for the whole, and is still a letter ; but 
. us being the first element of the word, and not as being the representative of 
the whole. 

:$. In their definitions of vowels and consonants, many grammarians have re- 
solved letters into sounds only ; as, "A Vowel is an articulate sound," &c. "A Conso- 
nant is an articulate sound," &c. L. Murray's Gram. p. 7. But this confounding of the 
M_ r us with the things which they signify, is very far from being a true account 
of either. Besides, letters combined are capable of a certain mysterious power which 
is independent of all sound, though speech, doubtless, is what they properly represent. 
In practice, almost all the letters may occasionally happen to be silent; yet are they 
not, in these cases, necessarily useless. The deaf and dumb also, to whom none of the 

express or represent 'sounds, may be taught to read and write understandingly. 

They even learn in some way to distinguish the accented from the unaccented syllables, 

and to have some notion of quantity, or of something else equivalent to it ; for some of 

them, it is said, can compose verses according to the rules of prosody. Hence it would 

, that the powers of the letters are not, of necessity, identified with their sounds; 

the things being in some respect distinguishable, though the terms are commonly 

taken .us. The fact is, that a word, whether spoken or written, iS of itself 

^///whether its corresponding form be known or not. Hence, in the one form, it 

perfectly intelligible to the illiterate, and in the other, to the educated deaf and 
dumb ; while, to the learned who hear and speak, either form immediately suggests the 
other, with the meaning common to both. 

l. ( hir knowledge of letters rises no higher than to the forms used by the 
ancieir md I'hu-nicians. Moses is supposed to have written in characters 

which were nearly the same as th-M- called Samaritan, but his writings have come to 
us in an alphabet more beautiful and regular, called the Chaldee or Chaldaic, which is 
said to have been made by K/ra the scribe, when he wrote out a new copy of the law, 
after the rebuilding of the temple. Cadmus carried the Phoenician alphabet into 
Greece, where it was subsequently altered and enlarged. The small letters were not 

/ is not a simple element of speech, but rather a complex one, 
. But our grammarians in general, have applied 

u'T'l, iinli-criniiiiiitely : for which reason, it seems i 

of a syllable consist* 

- a syllable." /.< .'/on, p. 62. If 

lit in tliis. i ra properly, none of them can singly represent 

The looseness induces me to add or pn-fer an other. "The i 

-ho come* as near as an the trut- definition "fa 1. li The 

si.mi'U UM-,I in language are call- u-i-1 in printing or 

an arliculat- ,,. p. '. \t, 1 A 

the in;i:k of a tfiund, or -rly railed . 

Is formed by the concourse of vowels and consonants, articulate sounds." Latin and 
Engluk Gram. p. 1 and 2. 


invented till about the seventh, century of our era. The Latins, or Romans, derived 
most of their capitals from the Greeks ; but their small letters, if they had any, were 
made afterwards among themselves. This alphabet underwent various changes, and 
received very great improvements, before it became that beautiful series of characters 
which we now use, under the name of Roman letters. Indeed these particular forms, 
which are now justly preferred by many nations, are said to have been adopted after the 
invention of printing. " The Roman letters were first used by Sweynheim and Pannartz, 
printers who settled at Rome, in 1467. The earliest work printed wholly in this charac- 
ter in England, is said to have been Lily's or Paul's Accidence, printed by Richard 
Pinson, 1518. The Italic letters were invented by Aldus Manutius at Rome, towards 
the close of the fifteenth century, and were first used in an edition of Virgil, in 1501." 
Constable s Miscellany, Vol. xx, p. 147. The Saxon alphabet was mostly Roman. Not 
more than one quarter of the letters have other forms. But the changes, though 
few, give to a printed page a very different appearance. Under William the Conqueror, 
this alphabet was superseded by the modern Gothic, Old English, or Black letter ; which, 
in its turn, happily gave place to the present Roman. The Germans still use a type 
similar to the Old English, but not so heavy. 

OBS. o. I have suggested that a true knowledge of the letters implies an acquaint- 
ance with their names, their classes, their powers, and their forms. Under these four 
heads, therefore, I shall briefly present what seems most worthy of the learner's atten- 
tion at first, and shall reserve for the appendix a more particular account of these im- 
portant elements. The most common and the most useful things are not those about 
which we are in general most inquisitive. Hence many, who think themselves suf- 
ficiently acquainted with the letters, do in fact know but very little about them. If a 
person is able to read some easy book, he is apt to suppose he has no more to learn re- 
specting the letters ; or he neglects the minute study of these elements, because he sees 
what words they make, and can amuse himself with stories of things more interesting. 
But merely to understand common English, is a very small qualification for him who 
aspires to scholarship, and especially for a teacher. For one may do this, and even be a 
great reader, without ever being able to name the letters properly, or to pronounce such 
syllables as ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy, without getting half of them wrong. No one can ever 
teach an art more perfectly than he has learned it ; and if we neglect the elements of 
grammar, our attainments must needs be proportionately unsettled and superficial. 


The names of the letters, as now commonly spoken and written in Eng- 
lish, are A, Bee, Cee, Dee, E, Eff, G-ee, Aitch, I, Jay, Kay, Ell, Em, 
En, 0, Pee, Km, Ar, Ess, Tee, U, Vee, Double-u, Ex, Wy, Zee. 


OBS. 1. With the learning and application of these names, our literary education 
begins ; with a continual rehearsal of them in spelling, it is for a long time carried on ; 
nor can ve ever dispense with them, but by substituting others, or by ceasing to mention 
the things thus named. What is obviously indispensable, needs no proof of its import- 
ance. But I know not whether it has ever been noticed, that these names, like those of 
the days of the week, are worthy of particular distinction, for their own nature. They 
are words of a very peculiar kind, being nouns that are at once both proper and common. 
For, in respect to rank, character, and design, each letter is a thing strictly individual 
and identical that is, it is ever one and the same ; yet, in an other respect, it is a com- 
prehensive sort, embracing individuals both various and numberless. Thus every B is a b, 
make it as you will ; and can be nothing else than that same letter b, though you make 
it in a thousand different fashions, and multiply it after each pattern innumerably. Here, 
then, we see individuality combined at once with great diversity, and infinite multipli- 
city ; and it is to this combination, that letters owe their wonderful power of transmitting 
thought. Their names, therefore, should always be written with capitals, as proper 
nouns ; and should form the plural regularly, as ordinary appellatives. Thus : (if we 
adopt the names now most generally used in English schools :) A, Acs ; Bee, Bees ; Cee 
Gees ; Dee, Dees ; E, Ees ; Eff, Effs ; Gee, Gees ; Aitch, Aitches ; I, les ; Jay, Jays ; Kay, 
Kays ; Ell, Ells ; Em, Ems ; En, Ens ; O, Oes ; Pee, Pees ; Kue, Kites ; Ar, Ars ; Ess, 
Esses; Tee, Tees; U, Ues ; Vee, Vees ; Double-u, Double-ues ; Ex, Exes ; Wy, Wies ; Zee, 

OBS. 2. The names of the letters, as expressed in the modern languages, are mostly 
framed with reference to their powers, or sounds. Yet is there in English no letter of 
which the name is always identical with its power : for A, E, I, O, and U, are the only 
letters which can name themselves, and all these have other sounds than those which 


their names express. The simple powers of the other letters are so manifestly insuffi- 
cient to form any name, and so palpable is the difference between the nature and the 
name of each, that did we not know how education has been tritied with, it would be 
hard to believe even Murray, when he says, "They are frequently confounded by writ- 
ers on grammar. Observations and reasonings on the name, are often applied to explain 
the iHtfitfi' of a consonant ; and by this means the student is led into error and perplex- 
ity." /.. Murray** <'/"//!. Svo, p. 8. The confounding of names with the things for 
which they stand, implies, unquestionably, great carele.-sness in the use of speech, and 
great indistinctness of apprehension in respect to things ; yet so common is this error, 
that Murray himself has many times fallen into it.* Let the learner therefore be on his 
guard, remembering that grammar, both in its study and in its practice, requires the 
coastai: "f a rational discernment. Those letters which name themselves, 

take for their names those sounds which they usually represent at the end of an accent- 
ed syllable; thus the names. A, E, /, O, U, are uttered with the sounds ^iven to the 
same letters in the first syllables of the other names, JW, Enoch, Isaac, Obed, I'rim ; or 
in the lirst syllables of the common words, paper, pi-nal, pilot, potent, pupil. The other 
letters, mo-t of whi<-h can never be perfectly sounded alone, have names in which their 
mibmed with other sounds more vocal ; as, Bee, Cee,Dee, Ell, Em, En, 

."/, KKI-. lint in this respect the terms Aitch and Double- u are irregular; because 
they have no obvious reference to the powers of the letters thus named. 

:5. Letters, like all other things, must be learned and spoken of by their 

: nor can they be spoken of otherwise ; yet, as the simple characters are better 
known and more easily exhibited than their written names, the former are often substi- 
tuted for the latter, and are read as the words for which they are assumed. Hence the 
orthography of these words has hitherto been left too much to mere fancy or caprice. 
Our dictionaries, by a strange oversight or negligence, do not recognize them as words ; 
and writers have in general spelled them with very little regard to either authority or 
analogy. What they are, or ought to be, has therefore been treated as a trifling question : 
and, what is still more surprising, several authors of spelling-books make no mention 
at all of them ; while others, here at the very threshold of instruction, teach falsely 
giving "//<" for .!/><//, " <r " for Ar, " oo " or " -uu" for Dotihlc-u. "ye" for II '?/, and 
writing almost all the rest improperly. So that many persons who think themselves well 
educated, would be greatly ponied to name on paper these simple elements of all learn- 

N ay, there can be found a hundred men who can readily write the alphabetic names 
which were in use two or three thousand years ago in Greece or Palestine, for one ivho 
can do the same thing with propriety, respecting those which we now employ so con- 
stantly in Knglish :f and yet the words themselves arc as familiar to every school-boy's 
ire the characters to his eye. This fact may help to convince us, that the /////;- 
mar of our lanu r mme ha- never yet been sufficiently tatight. Among all the particulars 
which constitute this study, there are none which better deserve to be everywhere 
known, by proper and determinate names, than these prime elements of all written 

!. Should it happen to be asked a hundred lustrums hence, what were the 
f the letters in ' the Augustan age of English literature," or in the days of 
"William the Fourth and Andrew Jackson, I fear the learned of that day will be as 
much at a lo>> tor an answer, as would most of our college tutors now, were they 
asked, by what M-ries of names the lloimui youth were taught to spell. Might not 
Quintilian or Yarro have obliged many, by recording these: As it is, \vc are indebted 

Of this sort of blunder, the foil 'fmi-ioi! j- .-m ii>st;n:<v : -A Vov>tll letter, the. name of 

All this is ju-t as true of ft 
e which the writer? in- 

nt. to s.iy. tha- ir is a 1,-tter. and th:it rhe 
iM.uhin teaches, that tin- i. nines of all t: 
i'lirr which . : n. Ho-* 

... ir oamee ' t A. r.. C, i>. K 
1, .1. K -. 'I . i . \ . i> u )ii.-h of Hi- < arc . 

. [>. 7. If m\ \uirth\ friend K".. >, <,r ( ..n.-ido-cd u-ltat are tkt ih.-ni tliis. i>hr;i-f. "to u T . it/, to a tittle, a jut. an 

Briti.-h juH-t liii ter, known how to write the name of " T," he would 

.-'1 it in the follow" 

,:i'le tliat he 

' T." British P<!s. Vol VI I. p. 65. 

Here the name would certainly J.e nuu-h titrer than the letter, beca o t in reality speak of 

r. With the names of th< , tier acquainted ; the same poem exhibits 

two of them, where tb n of: 

M . e . can tr:ic- divinely true, 
In thi< dark curve a little Mn : 
And ro lie 

The ruin> of a D.,rie \i." /' 
The critical reader will gee that " seems " should be seem, to agree with its nominative " ruins." 


to Priscian, a grammarian of the sixth. Century, for almost all we know about them. 
But even the information which may be had, on this point, has been strangely over- 
looked by our common Latin grammarians.* What, but the greater care of earlier 
writers, has made the Greek names better known or more important than the Latin ? 
In every nation that is not totally illiterate, custom must have established for the 
letters a certain set of names, which are the only true ones, and which are of course 
to be preferred to such as are local or unauthorized. In this, however, as in other 
things, use may sometimes vary, and possibly improve ; but when its decisions are clear, 
no feeble reason should be allowed to disturb them. Every parent, therefore, who 
would have his children instructed to read and write the English language, should see 
that in the first place they learn to name the letters as they are commonly named in 
English. A Scotch gentleman of good education informs me, that the names of the 
letters, as he first learned them in a school in his own country, were these : " A, Ib, EC, 
Id, E, Iff, Ig, Ich, I, Ij, Ik, 111, Im, In, O, Ip, Kue, Ir, Iss, It, U, Iv, Double-u, Ix, Wy, 
Iz ; " but that in the same school the English names are now used. It is to be hoped, that 
all teachers will in time abandon every such local usage, and name the letters as they 
ought to be named ; and that the day will come, ,in which the regular English orthography 
of these terms, shall be steadily preferred, ignorance of it be thought a disgrace, and the 
makers of school-books feel no longer at liberty to alter names that are a thousand times 
better known than their own. 

OBS. 5. It is not in respect to their orthography alone, that these first words in liter- 
ature demand inquiry and reflection : the pronunciation of some of them has often been 
taught erroneously, and, with respect to three or four of them, some writers have 
attempted to make an entire change from the customary forms which I have recorded. 
Whether the name of the first letter should be pronounced "Aye," as it is in England, 
"Ah," as it is in Ireland, or "Aw" as it is in Scotland, is a question which Walker has 
largely discussed, and clearly decided in favour of the first sound ; and this decision 
accords with the universal practice of the schools in America. It is remarkable that this 
able critic, though he treated minutely of the letters, neglected the names of them all, 
except the first and the last. Of. Zee, (which has also been called Zed, Zad, Izzard, Uz- 
zard,)-\- he says, " Its common name is izzard, which Dr. Johnson explains into s hard; if, 
however, this is the meaning, it is a gross misnomer : for the z is not the hard, but the 
soft * , j but as it has a less sharp, and therefore not so audible a sound, it is not im- 
possible but it may mean s surd. Zed, borrowed from the French, is the more fashionable 
name of this letter ; but, in my opinion, not to be admitted, because the names of the letters 
ought to have no diversity " Walker's Principles, No. 483. It is true, the name of a letter 
ought to be one, and in no respect diverse ; but where diversity has already obtained, 
and become firmly rooted in custom, is it to be obviated by insisting upon what is 
old-f dshioned, awkward, and inconvenient ? Shall the better usage give place to the 
worse ? Uniformity cannot be so reached. In this country, both Zed and Izzard, as 
well as the worse forms Zad and Uzzard, are now fairly superseded by the softer and 
better term Zee ; and whoever will spell aloud, with each of these names, a few such 
words as dizzy, mizzen, gizzard, may easily perceive why none of the former can ever 
be brought again into use. I give up all four ; Zed to the French, and the rest to 

OBS. 6. By way of apology for noticing the name of the first letter, Walker 
observes, " to vowels did not confound us in our spelling, or 
declaring to each other the component letters of a word, it would he entirely needless 
to enter into so trifling a question as the mere name of a letter ; but when we find our- 
selves unable to convey signs to each other on account of this diversity of names, and 
that words themselves are endangered by an improper utterance of their component 

* Lily, reckoning without the H, J, or V, speaks of the Latin letters as " twenty-two ;" but says nothing 
concerning their names. Ruddinian, Adam, Grant, Gould, and others, who include the H. J, and V, rightly 
state the number to be " twf.nty-five. ; " but, concerning their name?, are likewise entirely silent. Andrews 
and Stoddard. not admitting the K, teach thus : ' ; The letters of the Latin language are twenty-font. They 
have the same names as the corresponding characters in English " Andrews and Stoddard's LatinCrram. p.l. 
A later author speaks thus : " The Latin Alphabet consists of twenty-five letters, th? sam? in name and form 
as the English, but without the to." Bullions' s Latin Gram. p. 1. It would probably be nearer to the 
truth, to say, " The Latin Alphabet, like the French, has no \V ; it consists of twenty-five letters, which are 
the same in name and form as the French.' 1 '' Will it be pretended that the French names and the English do 
not differ 1 

t "Z z, zed, more commonly called izzard or uzzard, that is, s hard.'" 1 Dr. Johnsqn's Gram. p. 1. 
u And how she sooth'd me when with study sad 
I labourd on to reach the final ///." Crabbers Borough, p. 228. 

t William Bolles, in his new Dictionary, says of the letter Z: ' Tts sound is uniformly that of a hard S." 
The IMOTI*, however. he pronounces as I do; though he writes it not '/.f.e but zc ; giving not the (trtimgra- 
phi/ of rhe n:inie. MS he should have done, but a mere imlcx of its pronunciation. U'alker proves by citations 
from Professor Ward and Dr. \Vallis, that these authors considered the sharp or hissing sound of s the 
" hard " sound ; and the/to sound, like that of z, its " soft " sound. See his Diet. 8vo, p. 53. 


parts, it seems highly incumbent on us to attempt a uniformity in this point, which, in- 
significant as it may" seem, is undoubtedly the foundation of a just and regular pronun- 
ciation." Dirt, under A. It' diversity in this matter is so perplexing, what shall w 
to those who are attempting innovations without assigning reasons, or even pretending 
authority and if a knowledge of these names is the basis of a just pronunciation, what 
shall we think of him who will take no pains to ascertain how he ought to speak and 
write them ? He who pretends to teach the proper fashion of speaking and writing, 
cannot deal honestly, if ever he silently prefer a suggested improvement, to any estab- 
lished and undisturbed usage of the language ; for, in grammar, no individual authority 
can be a counterpoise to general custom. The best usage can never be that which is 
little known, nor can it be well ascertained and taught by him who knows little. 
Inquisitive minds are ever curious to learn the nature, origin, and causes of things ; 
and that instruction is the most useful, which is best calculated to gratify this 
rational curiosity. This is my apology for dwelling so long upon the present topic. 

( ) H> . 7. The names originally given to the letters were not mere notations of sound, 
intended solely to express or make known the powers of the several characters then in 
u>e ; nor ought even the modern names of our present letters, though formed with 
special reference to their sounds, to be considered such. Expressions of mere sound, 
such as the notations in a pronouncing dictionary, having no reference to what is meant 
by the sound, do not constitute words at all; because they are not those acknowh 

s to which a meaning has been attached, and are consequently without that signifi- 
cance which is an essential property of words. But, in every language, there must be a 
series of sounds by which the alphabetical characters are commonly known in speech ; and 
which, as they are the acknowledged names of these particular objects, must be en- 
titled to a place among the words of the language. It is a great error to judge otherwise ; 
and a greater to make it a " trifling question " in grammar, whether a given letter shall 
be called by one name or by another. "Who shall say that Daleth, Delta, and Dee, are not 
thr i h equally important in the language to which it properly belongs ? 

ive always been in use wherever literature has been cultivated; and as 
the forms and powers of the letters have been changed by the nations, and have be- 
come dilferent in different languages, there has necessarily followed a change of the names. 
I:\ir. whatever inconvenience scholars may find in the diversity which has thence arisen, 
to name these elements in a set of foreign terms, 1 inconsistent with the genius of the 
lan_ learned, would surely be attended with a tenfold greater. \Ve derived 

our letters, and their names too, from the Romans ; but this is no good reason why the 
latter should be spelled and pronounced as we suppose they were spelled and pronounced 
in 1; 

8. The names of the twenty-two letters in Hebrew, are, without dispute, 
pro; ;'.'e not only significant of the letters thus named, but have in 

gen.-ral. if not in every instance, some other meaning in that language. Thus themys- 
iiihers which the Kniilish reader meets with, and wonders over, as he reads the 
ll'.'th I'salm, may be resolved, according to some of the Hebrew grammars, as follows : 

{^ Aleph, A. an ox, or a leader; ^ Beth, Bee, a house; Jj Gimel, Gee, a camel ; "J 

i door ; ,-f He. K. she, or behold ; ^ Vau, U, a hook, or a nail; f Zain, 

.i'>ur:.n ( 'ht.-th, or Heth, Aiteh, a he<l_re. ; ^ Teth. Tee, a serpent, or a 

scroll ; * Jod. or Yod, I, or W\ , a hand shut ; ^ Caph, Cee, a hollow hand, or a cup; 

^ L:une<l. Kll. an ox-^nml : 2 M"i". Km, a .-tain, or spot; J Nun, En, a fish, or a 

ike; ^ Sunei-h. K->. a la-is. or support ; y Ain, or Oin, O, an eye, ora well: 
I 1 . iVe. a lip, or month : y T/.addi, or Tsaclhe, Tee-zee, (i. e. tz, or ts,) a hunter's 
pole: p, Km-, nr Kay. an ape; ^ Kesri), or llesh, Ar, a head; & Schin, or 
Sin. K -aiteh. .r K-s. a tooth; j-\ Tan, or Thau, Tee, or Tee-aitch, across, or mark. 

if The Hebrew letters are written with much less uniformity 

than th there has been more dispute respecting their powers. 

Thi< i- .\..uld have expected; sinre the Hebrew na: 

iriginally than the letters, and the Greek are not. 

,^inal pmnunci [s admitted to be lost, or involved in so 

much ohv.'iirity t -.vely affirmed about it; and yet, win 

known, gramma 1 .' <!iver-ity; aiming At disputed sounds 

the other. 

9. Thewo l< : .- :- -\vo names in the following series. 

The i . >'ir; which are formed, named, and sounded, ti. 

A (i. Ali. hi. a: 15 3, I' y, (lamina. <r hard; A o\ Delta, tl : K f Kp-ilon, e 

short ; Z f, Zeta, z ; H r;, Eta, e long; 030, Theta, th ; I t, Iota, i ; K K, Kappa, k; 


A A, Lambda, 1 ; M p., Mu, m ; N i>, Nu, n ; H , XI, x ; O o, Omicron, o short ; n TT, 
Pi. p ; P p, Rho, r ; 2 a- s, Sigma, s ; T r, Tau, t ; Y v, Upsilon, u ; $ <, Phi, ph ; 
X x, Chi, ch ; >//, Psi, ps ; Q o>, Omega, o long. 

Of these names, our English dictionaries explain the first and the last; and Webster 
lias denned Iota, and Zeta, but without reference to the meaning of the former in Greek. 
Beta, Delta, Lambda, and perhaps some others, are also found in the etymologies or de- 
finitions of Johnson and Webster, both of whom spell the word Lambda and its deriva- 
tive lambdoidal without the silent b, which is commonly, if not always, inserted by 
the authors of our Greek grammars, and which Worcester, more properly, retains. 

Oiis. 10. The reader will observe that the foregoing names, whether Greek or Hebrew, 
are in general much less simple than those which our letters now bear ; and if he has 
ever attempted to spell aloud in either of those languages, he cannot but be sensible of 
the great advantage which was gained when to each letter there was given a short name, 
expressive, as ours mostly are, of its ordinary power. This improvement appears to have 
been introduced by the Romans, whose names for the letters were even more simple 
than our own. But so negligent in respect to them have been the Latin grammarians, 
both ancient and modern, that few even of the learned can tell what they really were 
in that language ; or how they differed, either in orthography or sound, from those of 
the English or the French, the Hebrew or the Greek. Most of them, however, may yet 
be ascertained from Priscian, and some others of note among the ancient philologists ; 
so that by taking from later authors the names of those letters which, were not used in 
old times, we can still furnish an entire list, concerning the accuracy of which there is 
not much room to dispute. It is probable that in the ancient pronunciation of Latin, 
a was commonly sounded as in father ; e like the English a ; i mostly like e long ; y 
like i short ; c generally and g always hard, as in come and go. But, as the original, 
native, or just pronunciation of a language is not necessary to an understanding of 
when written, the existing nations have severally, in a great measure, accommodate 
themselves, in their manner of reading this and other ancient tongues. 

OBS. 11. As the Latin language is now printed, its letters are twenty-five. Like 
French, it has all that belong to the English alphabet, except the Double-u. But, 
the first Punic war, the Romans wrote C for G, and doubtless gave it the power as well 
the place of the Gamma or Gimel. It then seems to have slid into K ; but they used it 
also for S, as we do now. The ancient Saxons, generally pronounced C as Iv, but some- 
times as Ch. Their G was either guttural, or like our Y. In some of the early Englis 1 - 
grammars the name of the latter is written Ghee. The letter F, when first invented, w; 
called, from its shape, Digamma, and afterwards Ef. J, when it was first distinguish^ 
from I, was called by the Hebrew name Jod, and afterwards Je. V, when first 
tinguished from U, was called Yau, then Ya, then Ye. Y, when the Romans first bor- 
rowed it from the Greeks, was called Ypsilon ; and Z, from the same source, was calk " 
Zeta; and, as these two letters were used only in words of Greek origin. I know IK 
whethei they ever received from the Romans any shorter names. In Schneider's Latii 
Grammar, the letters are named in the following manner ; except Je and Ye, which ai 
omitted by this author : "A, Be, Ce, De, E, Ef, Ge, Ha, I, [Je,] Ka, El, Em, En, O, 
Pe, Cu, Er, Es, Te, U, [Ve,] Ix, Ypsilon, Zeta." And this I suppose to be the m 
proper way of writing their names in Latin, unless we have sufficient authority fc 
shortening Ypsilon into Y, sounded as short i, and for changing Zeta into Ez. 

OBS. 12. In many, if not in all languages, the five, A, E, I, O, U, name thei 
selves ; but they name themselves differently to the ear, according to the different way; 
of uttering them in different languages. And as the name of a consonant necessarily 
requires one or more vowels, that also may be affected in the same manner. But in cvt 
language there should be a known way both of writing and of speaking every name 
the series ; and that, if there is nothing to hinder, should be made conformable to th 
genius of the UOKJIKKJC. I do not say that the names above can be regularly declined ' 
Latin; but in English it is as easy to ^peak of two Dees as of two trees, of two Kays 
of two days, of two Exes as of two foxes, of two Effs as of two skiffs ; and there ought 
to be no more difficulty about the correct way of writing the word in the one case, 
than in the other. In Dr. Sam. Prat's Latin Grammar, (an elaborate octavo, all Latin, 
published in London, 1722,) nine of the consonants are reckoned mutes ; b, c, d, g, p, 
q, t, j, and \ ; and eight, semivowels ; f, 1, m, n, r, s, x, z. "All the mutes," says this 
author, " are named by placing c after them ; as, be, cc, dc, ge, except q, which ends in 
u." See p. 8. "The semivowels, beginning with e, end in themselves ; as, ef, ach, el, 
em, en, er, es, ex, (or, as Priscian will have it, ix,} eds." See p. 9. This mostly accords 
with the names given in the preceding paragraph ; and so far as it does not, I judge 
the author to be wrong. The reader will observe that the Doctor's explanation is neither 
very exact nor quite complete : Iv is a mute which is not enumerated, and the rule would 
make the name of it Ke, and not Ka H is not one of his eight semivowels, nor does 


the name . Irh accord with his rule or seem like a Latin word ; the name of Z, according 
to his principle, would be Kz and not " Edx," although the latter may better indicate 
the sound which was then given to this letter. 

13. If the history of these names exhibits diversity, so does that of almost all 
n\\* ; and yet there is some way of writing every word with correctness, and cor- 
rectness tends to permanence. But Time, that establishes authority, destroys i 
when he fairly sanctions newer customs. To all names worthy to be known, it is natural 
to wish a perpetual uniformity ; but it' any one thinks the variableness of these to be 
peculiar, let him open the English Bible of the fourteenth century, and read a few 
viug the nan.i-s. For instance : " Forsothe whanne I'.i-o/tJr \vas to bring- 
. th hym, in that nigt l\'tir was slepynge bitwixe tweync knytis." Dedis, (i. e. 
that is to dcnnnue the quyke and deed." 2 Tim. iv, 1. 
Since this was written for English, our language has changed much, and at thr 

[uired, by means of the press, some aids to stability. I have recorded above the 
if the letters, as they are now used, with something of their history; and if 
there could be in human works any tiling unchangeable, I should wish, (with due defer- 
all schemers and fault-finders,) that these names might remain the same forever. 
11. If any change is desirable in our present names of the letters, it is that we 
may have a shorter and simpler term in stead of 1> . Hut can we change th: 

known name? I imagine it would be about as easy to change Alpha, Upsilon, or o 
and perhaps it would be as useful. Let Dr. Webster, or any defender of his spelling, 
try it. He never named the English letters rightly ; long ago discarded the term D<> 
and is not yet tired of his experiment with "oo ; " but thinks still to make the vowel 
sound of this letter its name. Yet he writes his new name wrong ; has no authority 
for it but his own ; and is, most certainly, reprehensible for the innovation.* If IT is to 
- a vowel, it ought to . '. as other vowels do, and not to take two (h-s 

v ritten name. Who that knows what it is, to name a letter, can think of naming 
1 hat it is possible for an ingenious man to misconceive this simple 
affair ot' naming the letters, may appear not only from the foregoing instance, but from 
\viim qu'Ta'ioii : "Among the thousand mismanagements of literary instruction, 
-e.t in the hornbook, thepret-n<-- 1<> rapr ./In/-// Noi/nds by sylla- 

1 of two or more elements ; as, Be, Kti>/. Zed, Double-u, and Aitch. These 
onls arc used in infancy, and through life, as simpk- dcim-nts in the process of synthetic 
ilinu r . It' the definition of a con.vmiinf was made by the master from the practice 
ild, it might suggest pity for the pedagogue, but should not make us forget the 
f nature." Dr. Jla-t/i, un tin' l'//i/'^oji//i/ <>f tlu- llanian Voice, p. o'l. This is a 
; lle^ation to come from such a source. If I bid a boy spell the word why, he 
ys, Doublc-u, Aitch, Wy, hwi ;" and knows that he has spelled and pronounced the 
correctly. But if he conceives that the five syllables which form the three words, 
. and Aitch, and H'v, are the three simple sounds which he utters in pronounc- 
the word irhy, it is not because the hornbook, or the teacher of the hornbook, ever 
v sueh blunder or "pretence ; " but because, like some great philosophers, he 
is capable of misconceiving very plain, things. Suppose he should take it into his head 
to follow Dr. Webster's books, and to say, " Oo, he. ye, luri ,- " who, but these doctors, 
would imagine, that such spelling was supported either by "the realities of nature," 
by the authority of custom r 1 shall retain both the old "definition of a consonant," 
d the usual names of the letters, notwithstanding the contemptuous pity it may excite 
the minds of such cri; 


The letters are div'nU-d into two general classes, vowels and consonants. 

\ ' ' is a letter which forms a perfect sound when uttered alone ; as, 
a, e. 

letter which cannot be perfectly uttered till joined to a 
vowel ; as, >, c, rf.f 

The vowels are a, e, i, 0, w, and sometimes w and y. All the other 
letters are consonants. 

Dr. \\Yl.-it.-r rlic.l in 1M:J. Most of this work was written while he was yet in vigour, 
t This old cii-nnirioi 'tier it means, 

" Uiat the num- of such :i 1. 


;<>nr wi'h tin- utmost east . 

ly-,-i m -.v. )i. 1T4. He must bf oii'Mtf th<>-.- ino'lcrn ].' >,, d.-ii-rht to make muutfts of these voice- 

IMS elements, to show how much may be done without sound from the larynx. 


W or y is called a consonant when it precedes a vowel heard in the same 
syllable ; as in wine, twine, whine ; ye, yet, youth : in all other cases, these 
letters are vowels ; as in Yssel, Ystadt, yttria ; newly, dewy, eyebrow. 


The consonants are divided, with respect to their powers, into semivowels and 

A semivowel is a consonant which can be imperfectly sounded without a vowel, 
so that at the end of a syllable its sound may be protracted ; as, /, n, z, in al, an, az. 

A mute is a consonant which cannot be sounded at all without a vowel, and 
which at the end of a syllable suddenly stops the breath ; as, k, p, t, in ok, ap, at. 

The semivowels are/, h,j, I, m, n, r, s, v, w, x, y, z, and c and g soft : but w 
or y at the end of a syllable, is a vowel ; and the sound of c,f, g, h,j, s, or x, can 
be protracted only as an aspirate, or strong breath. 

Four of the semivowels, I, m, n, and r, are termed liquids, on account of the 
fluency of their sounds ; and four others, v, w, y, and z, are likewise more vocal 
than the aspirates. 

The mutes are eight ; b, d, k, p, q, t, and c and g hard : three of these, k, q, 
and c hard, sound exactly alike : b, d, and g hard, stop the voice less suddenly 
than the rest. 


OBS. 1. The foregoing division of the letters is of very great antiquity, and, in re- 
spect to its principal features, sanctioned by almost universal authority ; yet if we ex- 
amine it minutely, either with reference to the various opinions of the learned, or with 
regard to the essential differences among the things of which it speaks, it will not per- 
haps be found in all respects indisputably certain. It will however be of use, as a basis 
for some subsequent rules, and as a means of calling the attention of the learner to the 
manner in which he utters the sounds of the letters. A knowledge of about three 
dozen different elementary sounds is implied in the faculty of speech. The power of 
producing these sounds with distinctness, and of adapting them to the purposes for 
which language is used, constitutes perfection of utterance. Had we a perfect alphabet, 
consisting of one symbol, and only one, for each elementary sound ; and a perfect 
method of spelling, freed from silent letters, and precisely adjusted to the most correct 
pronunciation of words ; the process of learning to read would doubtless be greatly 
facilitated. And yet any attempt toward such a reformation, any change short of the 
introduction of some entirely new mode of writing, would be both unwise and imprac- 
ticable. It would involve our laws and literature in utter confusion ; because pronun- 
ciation is the least permanent part of language ; and if the orthography of words were 
conformed entirely to this standard, their origin and meaning would, in many instances, 
be soon lost. We must therefore content ourselves to learn languages as they are, and 
to make the best use we can of our present imperfect system of alphabetic characters ; 
and we may be the better satisfied to do this, because the deficiencies and redundancies 
of this alphabet are not yet so well ascertained, as to make it certain what a perfect one 
would be. 

OBS. 2. In order to have a right understanding of the letters, it is necessary to 
enumerate, as accurately as we can, the elementary sounds of the language ; and to 
attend carefully to the manner in which these sounds are enunciated, as well as to the 
characters by which they are represented. The most unconcerned observer cannot but 
perceive that there are certain differences in the sounds, as well as in the shapes, of 
the letters ; and yet under what heads they ought severally to be classed, or how 
many of them will fall under some particular name, it may occasionally puzzle a philos- 
opher to tell. The student must consider what is proposed or asked, use his own senses, 
and judge for himself. With our lower-case alphabet before him, he can tell by his 
own eye, which are the long letters, and which the short ones ; so let him learn by his 
own ear, which are the vowels, and which, the consonants. The processes are alike 
simple : and, if he be neither blind nor deaf, he can do both about equally well. Thus 
he may know for a certainty, that a is a short letter, and b a long one ; the former a 
vowel, the latter a consonant : and so of others. Yet as he may doubt whether t is a 
long letter or a short one, so he may be puzzled to say whether w and y, as heard in we 
and ye, are vowels or consonants : but neither of these difficulties should impair his con- 
fidence in any of his other decisions. If he attain by observation and practice a clear and 


perfect pronunciation of the letters, he will be able to class them for himself with as 
much accuracy as he will find in books. 

OBS. 3. Grammarians have generally agreed that every letter is either a vowel or a 
consonant ; and also that there are among the latter some semivowels, some mutes, some 
aspirates, some liquids, some sharps, some flats, some labials, some dentals, some nasals, 
some palatals, and perhaps yet other species ; but in enumerating the letters which 
belong to th >1 classes, they disagree so much as to make it no easy matter to 

ascertain what particular classification is best supported by their authority. I have 
adopted what I conceive to be the best aiithorized, and at the same time the most intelli- 
gible. He that dislikes the scheme, may do better, if he can. But let him with modesty 
determine what sort of discoveries may render our ancient authorities questionable. 
Aristotle, three hundred and thirty years before Christ, divided the Greek letters into 
vowels, , ami /nutm, and declared that no syllable could be formed without a 

vowel. In the opinion of some neoterics, it has been reserved to our age, to detect 
the fallacy of this. But I would fain believe that the Stagirite knew as well what he 
was saying, as did Dr. James Rush, when, in 1827, he declared the doctrine of vowels 
and consonants to be " a misrepresentation." The latter philosopher resolves the letters 
into "tonics, subtonics, and atonies , " and avers that "consonants alone may form sylla- 
Indeed, I cannot but think the ancient doctrine better. For, to say that "con- 
sonants alone may form syllables," is as much as to say that consonants are not conso- 
nants, but vowels ! To be consistent, the attempters of this reformation should never 
speak of vowels or consonants, semivowels or mutes ; because they judge the terms 
inappropriate, and the classification absurd. They should therefore adhere strictly to 
their "tonics, subtonics, and atonies;" which classes, though apparently the same as 
vowels, semivowels, and mutes, are better adapted to their new and peculiar division of 
these elements. Thus, by reforming both language and philosophy at once, they may 
miike what they will of either ! 

()i\^. 4. Some teach that ic and y are always vowels: conceiving the former to be 
equivalent to oo. and the latter to i or e. Dr. Lowth says, " Y is always a vowel," and 
" M IN either a vowel or a diphthong." Dr. Webster supposes w to be always " a vowel, 
a simple sound ; " but admits that, " At the beginning of words, y is called an articula- 
tion or and with some propriety perhaps, as it brings the root of the tongue in 
close contact with the lower part of the palate, and nearly in the position to which the 
close y brings it." American Diet. Octavo. But I follow Wallis, Brightland, Johnson, 
Walker, Murray, Worcester, and others, in considering both of them sometimes vowels 
and sometimes consonants. They are consonants at the beginning of words in English, 
their sounds take the article a, and not an, before them ; as, a wall, a yard, and 
not, an wall, an yard. But oo or the sound of e, requires an, and not a ; as, an eel, an 
oozy boy.* At the end of a syllable we know they are vowels ; but at the beginning, 
v so squcexeil in their pronunciation, as to follow a vowel without any hiatus, or 
difficulty of utterance; as, " O worthy youth! so young, so i>- 

(>i!>. .->. Murray's rule, " If and y are consonants when they begin a word or syllable, 
but in every other situation they are vowels," which is found in Comly's book, Kirkham's, 
Merchant's, Ingerx >:!'-. 1'i-k's, Hart's, Hiley's, Alger's, Bullions's, Pond's, S. Putnam's, 
Weld's, and in sundry other gnynmars, is favourable to my doctrine, but too badly con- 
ceived to be quoted here as authority. It iinti<-sit/ncdly makes a consonant in urine, 
and a vowel in ////< , and y a consonant when it forms a syllable, as in deicy : for a 
letter that form* a syllable, " begins" it. But Kirkham has lately learned his letters 
anew; and, suppo>ing he had Dr. Hush on his side, has philosophically taken their 
names for their sounds. He now calls y a " diphthong." But he Ls wrong here by his 
:>\vn showing : he should rather have called it a triphthong. He says, " By pronouncing 
y de!i!>erate and perfectly natural manner, the letter y, (which is a dij>/t(Jttnit/,) 
udent will perceive, that the sound produced, is compound; being 
formed, at its opening, of the obscure sound of oo as heard in oo-zc, which sound rap- 
idly slides into that of /, and then advances to that of ee as heard in e-\c, and on which 
it iiradually passes orf into silence." Kirk/mm's Elocution, p. 7-3. Thus the " unpractised 
student" is taught that b-y spells bwy ; or, if pronounced "very deliberately, boo-i-ee!" 

* This test of what is, or is Dot. a vowel .--omul or a consonant sound, is often appealed to, and is generally 
admitted to be a just on- lirmr- in the application of on or a are not unfreijui nr, hut. they il<> not affect the 
argument. It canim' ! <\< >i, ami nut proper to use an, before tin- iiii' .-ound 

of ir or y with a vowel follow k r <x>d, whether the sound be express*.- .1 l\ tin -e partic- 

ular letters, or by others : as in the phrases, " a wonder, a or humour^ n yielding 

I int. I have heard it oonU .1 sounds, notwithstanding they require a; and 

that u' and y an- ;ih\ .iuse even a vowel sound (it was - a and not an, whenever an 

Dther vowel Found Immediately fol!o\\- it. of thi notion, the following examples are a sufficient refutation: 
an aeronaut, an (uriul ttnir. <in n --, an iambus, an <.-.</'<. mi n'-r^^ut. <u 

oyster, an owl, an ounce. The initial sound <>t .irt-s a. ami not an ; but those who call the y a 

vowel, say, it i- equivalent to tlu- unaccented long e. This does not seem to me to be exactly true ; because the 
letter eound requires an, and not a , as, " Athens, as well as Thebes, had an <tion." 


Nay, tliis grammatist makes b, not a labial mute, as Walker, Webster, Cobb, and others, 
have called it, but a nasal subtonic, or semivowel. He delights in protracting its " gut- 
tural murmur ; " perhaps, in assuming its name for its sound ; and, having proved, that 
" consonants are capable of forming syllables," finds no difficulty in mouthing this little 
monosyllable by into b-oo-i-ce ! In this way, it is the easiest thing in the world, for such a 
man to outface Aristotle, or any other divider of the letters ; for he makes the sounds by 
which he judges. " Boy," says the teacher of Kirkham's Elocution, " describe the pro- 
tracted sound of y" Kirkhams Elocution, p. 110. The pupil may answer, "That letter, 
sir, has no longer or more complex sound, than what is heard in the word eye, or in the 
vowel i ; but the book which I study, describes it otherwise. I know not whether I can 
make you understand it, but I will tr-oo-i-ee." If the word try, which the author uses 
as an example, does not exhibit his " protracted sound of y," there is no word that does: 
the sound is a mere fiction, originating in strange ignorance. 

OBS. 6. In the large print above, I have explained the principal classes of the letters, 
but not all that are spoken of in books. It is proper to inform the learner that the 
sharp consonants are t, and all others after which our contracted preterits and participles 
require that d should be sounded like t ; as in the words faced, reached, stuffed, laughed, 
triumphed, croaked, cracked, houghed, reaped, nipped, piqued, missed, wished, earthed, 
betrothed, fixed. The flat or smooth consonants are d, and all others with which the proper 
sound of d may be united ; as in the words, daubed, judged, hugged, thronged, sealed, 
filled, aimed, crammed, pained, planned, feared, marred, soothed, loved, do/ed, buzzed. 
The labials are those consonants which are articulated chiefly by the lips ; among which, 
Dr. Webster reckons b,f, m, p, and v. But Dr. Rush says, b and ra are nasals, the 
latter, "purely nasal."* The dentals are those consonants which are referred to the 
teeth ; the nasals are those which are affected by the nose ; and the palatals are those 
which compress the palate, as k and hard g. But these last-named classes are not of 
much importance ; nor have I thought it worth while to notice minutdy the opinions 
of writers respecting the others, as whether h is a semivowel, or a mute, or neither. 

OBS. 7. The Cherokee alphabet, which was invented in 1821, by See-quo-yah, or 
George Guess, an ingenious but wholly illiterate Indian, contains eighty-five letters, or 
characters. But the sounds of the language are much fewer than ours ; for the char- 
acters represent, not simple tones and articulations, but syllabic sounds, and this number 
is said to be sufficient to denote them all. But the different syllabic sounds in our 
language amount to some thousands. I suppose, from the account, that Sce-quo-yah 
writes his name, in his own language, with three letters ; and that characters so used, 
would not require, and probably \vould not admit, such a division as that of vowels 
and consonants. One of the Cherokees, in a letter to the American Lyceum, states, 
that a knowledge of this mode of writing is so easily acquired, that one who understands 
and speaks the language, "can learn to read in a day; and, indeed," continues the 
writer, " I have known some to acquire the art in a single evening. It is only necessary 
to learn the different sounds of the characters, to be enabled to read at once. In the 
English language, we must not only first learn the letters, but to spell, before reading ; 
but in Cherokee, all that is required, is, to learn the letters ; for they have syllabic 
sounds, and by connecting different ones together, a word is formed : in which there is 
no art. All who understand the language can do so, and both read and write, so soon 
as they can learn to trace with their fingers the forms of the characters. I suppose 
that more than one half of the Cherokees can read their own language, and are thereby 
enabled to acquire much valuable information, with which they otherwise would never 
have been blessed." W. S. Coodey, 1831. 

OBS. 8. From the foregoing account, it would appear that the Cherokee language is 
a very peculiar one : its words must either be very few, or the proportion of polysyllables 
very great. The characters used in China and Japan, stand severally for words ; and 
their number is said to be not less than seventy thousand; so that the study of a 
whole life is scarcely sufficient to make a man thoroughly master of them. Syllabic 
writing is represented by Dr. Blair as a great improvement upon the Chinese method, 
and yet as being far inferior to that which is properly alphabetic, like ours. " The first 
step, in this new progress," says he, " was the invention of an alphabet of syllables, 
which probably preceded the invention of an alphabet of letters, among some of the 
ancient nations ; and which is said to be retained to this day, in Ethiopia, and some 
countries of India. By fixing upon a particular mark, or character, for every syllable 
in the language, the number of characters, necessary to be used in writing, was reduced 

* Dr. Rush, in his Philosophy of the Human Voice, has exhibited some acuteness of observation, and has 
written with commendable originality. But his accuracy is certainly not greater than his confidence. On 
page 57th, he says, " The m, n, and ng, are purely nasal: " on page 401st, u Some of the tonic elements, and 
one of the subtonics, are made by the assistance of the lips; they are o-we, oo-ze, ow-r, and m." Of the 
intrinsic value of his work, I am not prepared or inclined to offer any opinion ; I criticise him only so far aa 
he strikes at grammatical principles long established, and worthy still to be maintained. 


within a much smaller compass than the number of words in the language. Still, how- 
ever, the number of characters \\ii-; ^reat; and must have continued to render both 
reading and writing very laborious arts. Till, at last, some happy genius arose, and 
tracing the sounds made by the human voice, to their most simple elements, reduced 
them to a very tc\v rmr,-l.\ ,ul < iiismtunts ; and, by affixing to each of these, th 
which we now call letters, taught men how, by their combinations, to put in writing 
all the different words, or combinations of sound, which they employed in speech. 
By being reduced to this simplicity, the art of writing was brought to its highest state 
of perfection; and, in this state, we now enjoy it in all the countries of Europe." 
Blair* I .ect. VII, p. 68. 

OBS. 9. All certain knowledge of the sounds given to the letters by Moses and the 
prophets having been long ago lost, a strange dispute has arisen, and been carried on 
for centuries, eoncerning this question, " "Whether the Hebrew letters are, or are not, 

utunts :" the vowels being supposed by some to be suppressed and understood ; 
and not written, except by points of comparatively late invention. The discussion of 
such a question docs not properly belong to English grammar ; but, on account of its 
curiosity, as well as of its analogy to some of our present disputes, I mention it. Dr. 
Charles Wilson says, "After we have sufficiently known the figures and names of the 
letters, the next step is, to learn to enunciate or to pronounce them, so as to produce 
articulate sounds. On this subject, which appears at first sight very plain and simple, 
numberless contentions and varieties of opinion meet us at the threshold. From the 
earliest period of the invention of written characters to represent human language, 

r more or less remote that time may be, it seems absolutely certain, that the dis- 
tinction of letters into >n/ t f.<i must have obtained. All the speculations 

of the < lanmiians assume this as a rirst principle." Again : " I beg leave only 

to premise thi> o!ervation, that I absolutely and unequivocally deny the position, that 
all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are con>on;ints ; and, alter the most careful and 
minute iiiquiry, g my opinion, that of the twenty-two letters of which the 

Hebrew alphabet eon>i>ts, five are vowels and seventeen are consonants. The five vow- 
els by uuiue arc, Aleph, He, Vau, Yod, and Ain." )\'ikon's Heb. Gram. pp. 6 and 8. 


The powers of the letters are properly those elementary sounds which 
their figures are used to represent ; but letters formed into words, are 
capable of communicating thought independently of sound. 

The simple elementary sounds of any language are few, commonly not 
more than thirty-fix;* but they may be variously combined, so as to form 
words innumerable. 

Different vowel sounds, or vocal elements, are produced by opening the 
mouth differently, and placing the tongue in a peculiar manner for each ; 

I but the voice may vary in loudness, pitch, or time, and still utter the same 
vowel power. 
The vowel somnh which form the basis of the English language, and 
which ought therefore to be perfectly familiar to every one who speaks it, 
are those which are heard at the beginning of the words, ate, at, ah, all, 
eel. >oze, use, us, and that of u in bull. 

In the formation of syllables, some of these fourteen, primary sounds may 
be joined tojcth* /. oil, out, "//7 ; and all of them may be preceded or 

followed by certain motions and positions of the lips and tongue, which will 
severally convert them into other terms in speech. Thus the same essen- 
tial sounds mav he changed into a new series of words by an f ; as, /ate, 
fat. tttifoldyj I, fuse, fuss, full. Again, 

into as many more with n j> ; as. pate, pat, }>ar, pall, peel, pell, pile, j> ill, 

*Dr. Com.tock, by enumerating :i fli-nipntnry the sound r,f the diphthong OM, as in our, and the complex 
power of i-h. 11* in what, (which s-ounds ought not to l ..) makes the whole number of vocal 

elements in English to be 4l thirty-eight." See ComstocVs Elocution, p. 19. 



Each of the vowel sounds may be variously expressed by letters. About 
half of them are sometimes words : the rest are seldom, if ever, used alone 
even to form syllables. But the reader may easily learn to utter them all, 
separately, according to the foregoing series. Let us note them as plainly 
as possible : eigh, a, ah, awe, eh, e, eye, I, oh, o, oo, yew, u, u. 

Thus the eight long sounds, eigh, ah, awe, eh, eye, oh, ooh, yew, are, or 
may be, words ; but the six less vocal, called the short vowel sounds, as 
in at, et, it, ot, ut, put. are commonly heard only in connexion with con- 
sonants ; except the first, which is perhaps the most frequent sound of the 
vowel A or a a sound sometimes given to the word a, perhaps most 
generally ; as in the phrase, " twice a day." 

The simple consonant sounds in English are twenty-two : they are 
marked by b, d,f, g hard, h, k, I, m, n, ng, p, r, s, sh, t, th sharp, th flat, 
v, 'W, y, z, and zh. But zh is written only to show the sound of other 
letters ; as of s in pleasure, or z in azure. 

All these sounds are heard distinctly in the following words : buy, die, 
fie, guy, high, He, lie, my, nigh, eying, pie, rye, sigh, shy, tie, thigh, thy, 
vie, we, ye, zebra, seizure. Again : most of them may be repeated in the 
same word, if not in the same syllable ; as in bibber, diddle, fifty, giggle, 
high-hung, cackle, lily, mimic, ninny, singing, pippin, mirror, hissest, 
flesh-brush, tittle, thinketh, thither, vivid, witwal, union* dizzies, vision. 

With us, the consonants J and X represent, not simple, but complex 
sounds : hence they are never doubled. J is equivalent to dzh ; and X, 
either to ks or to gz. The former ends no English word, and the latter 
begins none. To the initial X of foreign words, we always give the simple 
sound of Z ; as in Xerxes, xebec. 

The consonants C and Q have no sounds peculiar to themselves. Q has 
always the power of k. C is hard, like k, before a, o, and u ; and soft, 
like s, before e, i, and y : thus the syllables, ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy, are pro- 
nounced, ka, se, si, ko, ku, sy. S before c preserves the former sound, 
but coalesces with the latter ; hence the syllables, sea, see, sci, sco, sen, scy, 
are sounded, ska, se, si, sko, sku, sy. Ce and ci have sometimes the sound 
of sh ; as in ocean, social. Ch commonly represents the compound sound 
of tsh ; as in church. 

G, as well as C, has different sounds before different vowels. G is al 
ways hard, or guttural, before a, o, and u; and generally soft, like^, be 
fore e, i, or y : thus the syllables, ga, ge, gi, go, gu, gy, are pronounced 
ga,je,ji, go, gu,jy.^ 

The possible combinations and mutations .of the twenty-six letters of our 
alphabet, are many millions of millions. But those clusters which are un- 
pronounceable, are useless. Of such as may be easily uttered, there are 
more than enough for all the purposes of useful writing, or the recording 
of speech. 

Thus it is, that from principles so simple as about six and thirty plain 
elementary sounds, represented by characters still fewer, we derive such 
a variety of oral and written signs, as may suffice to explain or record all 
the sentiments and transactions of men in all ages. 

* This word is commonly heard in two syllables, yune'yun ; but if Walker is right in making it three, 
yu'iif-un, tin- sound of y consonant is heard in it but once. Worcester's notation is ki yun'yun." The long 
sound of M is yu; hence AValker calls it a " semi-consonant diphthong." 



1. A knowledge of sounds can be acquired, in the first instance, only by the 
ear. No description <>i the manner of their production, or of the difference^ which dis- 
tingui-h them, can be at all intelligible to him who has not already, by the si ; 
hearing, acquired a knowledge of both. "NYhat I here say of the sounds ut the letters, 
must i)t course be addressed to those persons only who arc able both to speak and to 
read English. "Why then attempt instruction by a method which both ignorance and 
knowledge on the part of the pupil, must alike render useless: Ihavr -unc 

reader to have such an ac([uaintance with the powers of the letters, as is but loose and 
imp' licit ; sullicient for the accurate pronunciation of some words or syllables, but leav- 
ing them liable to mistakes in others; extending perhaps to all the sounds of the lan- 

ir not to a ready analysis or enumeration of them. Such persons may ] roiit by 
-< liption. of the powers of the letters, though no such description can equal 
the clear impression of the living voice. Teachers, too, whose business it is to aid the 
articulation of the young, and, by a patient inculcation of elementary principles, to lay 
the foundation of an accurate pronunciation, may derive some assistance from any nota- 
tion of these principles, which will help their memory, or that of the learner. The 
connexion between letters and sounds is altogether arhitrury ; but a few positions, being 
::ucd and made known, in respect to some characters, become easy standards for 
further instruction in respect to others of similar sound. 

_'. The importance of being instructed at an early age, to pronounce with dis- 

tinctue-is and facility all the elementary sounds of one's native language, has been so 

frequently urged, and is so obvious in itself, that none but those who have been them- 

iil be likely to disregard the claims of their children in this respect.* 

lint surely an accurate knowledge of the ordinary powers of the letters would be vastly 

union, \\ere there not much hereditary negligence respecting the manner in 
which these important rudiments are learned. The utterance of the illiterate may 
exhibit wit and native talent, but it is always more or less barbarous, because it is not 
aided by a k; I orthography. Eor pronunciation and orthography, however 

Ith' .. in our language especially, to be often at variance, are certainly correla- 

tive : a true knowledge of either tends to the preservation of both. Each of the letters 
-me one or more of the elementary sounds, exclusive of the rest; and 
cai h of the elementary sounds, though several of them are occasionally transferred, has 
some one or two letters to which it most properly or most frequently belongs. But 
borrowed, as our language has been, from a great variety of sources, to which it is 
desirable ever to retain the means of tracing it, there is certainly much apparent lack of 
"udenee between its oral and its written form. Still the discrepancies are few, 
when compared with the instances of exact conformity; and, if they are, as I suppose 
they art', unavoidable, it is as useless to complain of the trouble they occasion, as it is to 
think of forcing a reconciliation. The wranglers in this controversy, can never agree 
among ti. . whether orthography shall conform to pronunciation, or pronuncia- 

tion to orthography. Nor does any one of them well know how our language would 
either sound or look, were he himself appointed sole arbiter of all variances butween 

I our spelling and our speech. 
Uu-h, " was long ago analyzed into its alphabetic ele- 
ments. Wherever this analysis is known, the art of teaching language has, with the 
en conducted' upon the rudimental method." * * * "The 
art ot reading consists in having all the vocal elements under complete command, that 

they may be properly applied, for the vivid -ind elegant delineation of the sense and 
iiirse." /'///// 

sentiment of discourse." Philosophy of the I . Again, of " the pronunciation of 

the alphabetic element-. . '1 he hast deviation /,/,/ ///, '.,,>, lard con- 

mto the critic : and 1 am surely speaking within bounds when 1 say, 
that to: .-'-ailed element in (i;- inn words are lost to the 

1. 1 an audience." /W. p. :;.",(). These quotations plainly imply both the 
lijility and the imp' I aching the pronunciation of our language ana- 

lytically by means ot its present orthography, ami agreeably to the- standard .'.-sinned by 

M of them affirms that it has been done, "with ti 

-." according to some ancient method of dividing the letters and explaining their 
sounds. And yet, both before and afterwards, we lind this same author c.mpiai: ; 

our alphabet and its .subdivisions, as if sense or philosophy must utterly repudiate both; 

* " Children ought to be ncousfonied t< md to pronounce all possible sounds and articulations, 

urli foreign lali^U. n ; f. r :ihn.'M V.TV lali.L'ir 

,\ii;<li \\. ) . i-ly arcustonic'l t<> them. Accord- 

ingly, imiion.s lit> liaM- tli. 1- in tlu-ir >p.--|i. i.-;m, 

ace tlu.v know their articulations by having met with Minikir sounds in their own lan- 
guage.' \ mi on Education, p. 159. 


and of our orthography, as if a ploughman might teach us to spell better : and, at the 
8?me time, he speaks of softening his censure through modesty. "The deficiencies, re- 
dundancies, and confusion, of the system of alphabetic characters in this language, pre- 
vent the adoption of its subdivisions in this essay." Ib. p. 52. Of the specific sounds 
given to the letters, he says, " The first of these matters is under the rule of every body, 
and therefore is very properly to be excluded from the discussions of that philosophy 
which desires to be effectual in its instruction. How can we hope to establish a system 
of elemental pronunciation in a language, when great masters in criticism condemn at 
once every attempt, in so simple and useful a labour as the correction of its orthogra- 
phy ! " P. 256. Again : " I deprecate noticing the faults of speakers, in the pronuncia- 
tion of the alphabetic elements. It is better for criticism to be modest on this point, till 
it has the sense or independence to make our alphabet and its uses, look more like the 
work of what is called wise and transcendent humanity : till the pardonable variety of 
pronunciation, and the true spelling by the vulgar, have satirized into reformation that 
pen-craft which keeps up the troubles of orthography for no other pxirpose, as one can di- 
vine, than to boast of a very questionable merit as a criterion of education." Ib. p. 383. 

OBS. 4. How far these views are compatible, the reader will judge. And it is 
hoped he will excuse the length of the extracts, from a consideration of the fact, that 
a great master of the "pen-craft" here ridiculed, a noted stickler for needless Kays and 
Ties now commonly rejected, while he boasts that his grammar, which he mostly 
copied from Murray's, is teaching the old explanation of the alphabetic elements to 
"more than one hundred thousand children and youth," is also vending under his 
own name an abstract of the new scheme of " tonicks, subtonicks, and atonicks ; " and, in 
one breath, bestowing superlative praise on both, in order, as it would seem, to 
monopolize all inconsistency. " Among those who have successfully laboured in 
the philological field, Mr. Lindley Murray stands forth in bold relief, as undeniably at 
the head of the list." Kirkham's Elocution, p. 12. " The modern candidate for oratori- 
cal fame, stands on very different, and far more advantageous, ground, than that 
occupied by the young and aspiring Athenian ; especially since a correct analysis of the 
vocal organs, and a faithful record of their operations, have been given to the world by 
Dr. James Rush, of Philadelphia a name that will outlive the unquairied marble of our 
mountains." Ibid. p. 29. "But what is to be said when presumption pushes itself 
into the front ranks of elocution, and thoughtless friends undertake to support it ? 
The fraud must go on, till presumption quarrels, as often happens, with its own 
friends, or with itself, and thus dissolves the spell of its merits." Rush, on the Voice, 
p. 405. 

OBS. 5. The question respecting the number of simple or elementary sounds in our 
language, presents a remarkable puzzle : and it is idle, if not ridicxilous, for any man to 
declaim about the imperfection of our alphabet and orthography, who does not show 
himself able to solve it. All these sounds may easily be written in a plain sentence 
of three or four lines upon almost any subject; and every one who can read, is familiar 
with them all, and with all the letters. Now it is either easy to count them, or it is 
difficult. If difficult, wherein does the difficulty lie ? and how shall he who knows 
not what and how many they are, think himself capable of reforming our system of 
their alphabetic signs ? If easy, why do so few pretend to know their number ? and 
of those who do pretend to this knowledge, why are there so few that agree ? A 
certain verse in the seventh chapter of Ezra, has been said to contain all the letters. 
It however contains no j ; and, with respect to the sounds, it lacks that of /, that of 
th sharp, and that of u in bull. I will suggest a few additional words for these ; and 
then both all the letters, and all the sounds, of the English language, will be found in 
the example ; and most of them, many times over : " And I, even I, Artaxerxes the 
king, do make a decree to all the treasurers' who ' axe beyond the river, that whatso- 
ever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, 
it be done speedily' and faithfully, according to that which he shall enjoin." Some 
letters, and some sounds, are here used much more frequently than others ; but, on 
an average, we have, in this short passage, each sound five times, and each letter eight. 
How often, then, does a man speak all the elements of his language, who reads well but 
one hour ! 

OBS. 6. Of the number of elementary sounds in our language, different orthoepists 
repor; differently ; because they cannot always agree among themselves, wherein the 
ident ty or the simplicity, the sameness or the singleness, even of well-known sounds, 
consists ; or because, if each is allowed to determine these points for himself, no one of 
them adheres strictly to his own decision. They may also, each for himself, have some 
peculiar way of utterance, which will confound some sounds which other men distin- 
guish, or distinguish some which other men confound. For, as a man may write a 
very bad hand which shall still be legible, so he may utter many sounds improperly and 


still be understood. One may, in this way, make out a scheme of the alphabetic 
elements, which shall be true of his own pronunciation, and yet have obvious- i an Its 
when tried by the best usage of English speech. It is desirable not to multiply these 
sounds beyond the number which a correct and elegant pronunciation of the In: 
obviously requires. And what that number is, it seems to m< difficult to 

ascertain ; at least, I think we may iix it with sufficient accuracy for all practical 
purposes. But let it be remembered, that all who have hitherto attempted the enu- 
im-ration, have deviated more or less from their own decisions concerning either the 
simplicity or the identity of sounds; but, most commonly, it appear* to ha\. 
thought expedient to admit some exceptions concerning both. Thus the long or diph- 
, sounds of / and / ', are admitted by some, and excluded by others ; the sound of j, 
ckoned as simple by some, and rejected as compound by others ; so a part, if 
not all, of what are called the long and the short vowels, as heard in ale and <//, arm and 
am. d'l and on, isi'f or <</ and ///, tune and tun, /nth- or pool and pull, have been d 
essentially the same by some, and essentially different by others. "Were Me to recog- 

'lementary. no sounds but such as are unquestionably simple in themselves, and 
indisputably different in quality from all others, we should not have more sounds than 
letter.* : and this is a proof that we have characters enough, though the sounds are 
perhaps badly distributed among them. 

On*. 7. I have enumerated f/iirfi/-.six well known sounds, which, in compliance with 
general custom, and for convenience in teaching, I choose to regard as the oral elements 
of our language. There may be found some reputable authority for adding four or 
re, and other authority as reputable, for striking from the list seven or eight of 
. I ready mentioned. For the sake of the general principle, -which we always 
regard in writing, a principle of universal grammar, tlmt tin-re can be no syllable without a 
\ am inclined t<> teach, with lirightland. I>r. Johnson, L. Murray, and others, 
that, in English, a* in French, there is given to tin- vowel e & certain very ob*cure 
sound which approaches, but amounts not to an absolute suppression, though it i> com- 
monly .*o n-garded by the writers of dictionaries. It may be exemplified in the words 
. * or in the unemphatic article the before a consonant, as in the 
sentence, " Take the nearest : " we do not hear it as "tht-e /teart-xt," nor n- " ///// 
but more ob*curely. There is also a feeble sound of i or y unaccented, which is equiv- 
alent to < uttered feebly, as in the word diri-rxift/. This is the most common sound 
i of y. The vulgar are apt to let it fall into the more obscure sound of short u. 
<-f utterance depends much \ipon the preservation of this sound from siich 
obtn-em *-, perhaps Walker and others have done well to mark it as e in -//it- . though 
some suppose it to be peculiar, and others identify it with the short i in Jit. Thirdly, a 
distinction is made by some writers, between the vowel sounds heard in /Kite and bear, 
which Sheridan and Walker consider to be the same. The apparent different J 

m the following consonant r, which is apt to affect the sound of the 
vowel which precedes it. Such word* as omr, care, d,n; , >-<in-fnl, }><ir> nt, are very liable 
to be corrupted in pronunciation, by tr>o broad a *ound of the c ; and, a* the multiplica- 
;-tinetion* should be avoided, I do not approve of adding an other 
sound to a vowel which has already quite too many. Worcester, however, in hi* new 
Dictionary, and Wells, in his new (.frammar. give to the vo\\cl A xi.r sound* in lieu (-,\ four. 
^iieiidan made the elements of his oratory tn-fntii-ciijlit ; Jones followed 
him implicitly, and adopted the same number ;f "Walker recogni/ed several more, but 

*If it be admitted that the two -emivowels /and n have vorality enough of their own to form a very 

it \\ill ptovV only that then- aie these execpiions to ;m important general rule. If the 

!{'i'i<ln rh> i on ro the rule of writing; hut ii is no part of 

The "|, -tun- M'ui.d of whidi I -peak, is sometimes improperly confounded with thiit 

of short, u ; thus a recent u liter. \\ho pmle-,-es -rent skill in re.-pect t<> such m.r "i:- of the uioat 

common sound.- in I'lir lali'.'iuiu'f is that of tin ;n t lu- word i/r;i, or O.S the diphthong 'fill the 

Ik. for which \\c have n<> < hararr.T. Writers have made various efT<>it< to 1 in Kirtk, 

hirh all tl.. ;;iinat.-l\ u-ed in turn.- O~ TA <l>t<ct lint ltd 

AC! iit'tcr tl,. D them, \\ln-ii i 

D the follow: 

111 1 he a _ lid- perfection ti) r 

are pronounced I "_ Jhiil. p. 499. How often do the reformers of lan.irua-e multiply the 

1 -The nun. 1 in mr long ds and 19 Consonants. U is no 

letter, hut m< M. 

The muni ;-in our ri.n^i.e" i- twenty -eight, and one pure 

making in all twei' Ihrt , 1ntr<l., p. 9. 

the Englwh iMgt: hut the of '>. ;-.'% is thirty- 

tho>e element^ \<\ :ippi' : ,1 have thirf v-ci_'K 

^ in our alphabet of twelTi ;> this imperfection, will he one of th 

T the human race." lh. p !'.. , ; i- n 'ivi- (', 

9, and T. are re.-peetivel\ re] 1 the remai; .enters an 
employed to represent /t/r^-o/u elementary sii v'a School (jnim. 1st. Ed. p SO. 


I know not whether he has anywhere told us how many ; Lindley Murray enumerates 
thirty-six, and the same thirty-six that are given in the main text above. The eight 
sounds not counted by Sheridan are these : 1. The Italian a, as in. far, father, which he 
reckoned but a lengthening of the a in hat ; 2. The short o, as in hot, which he sup- 
posed to be but a shortening of the a in hall ; 3. The diphthongal i, as in isle, which he 
thought but a quicker union of the sounds of the diphthong oi, but which, in my opinion, 
is rather a very quick union of the sounds ah and eeinto ay, /;* 4. The long u, which is 
acknowledged to be equal to yu or yew, though perhaps a little different from you or yoorf 
the sound given it by Walker ; 5. The u heard in. pull, which he considered but a short- 
ening of oo ; 6. The consonant w, which he conceived to be always a vowel, and equiva- 
lent to oo ; 7. The consonant y, which he made equal to a short ee ; 8. The consonant 
h, which he declared to be no letter, but a mere breathing. In all other respects, his 
scheme of the alphabetic elements agrees with that which is adopted in this work, and 
which is now most commonly taught. 

OHS. 9. The effect of Quantity in the prolationof the vowels, is a matter with which 
every reader ought to be experimentally acquainted. Quantity is simply the time of 
utterance, whether long or short. It is commonly spoken of with reference to syllables, 
because it belongs severally to all the distinct or numerable impulses of the voice, and 
to these only ; but, as vowels or diphthongs may be uttered alone, the notion of quantity 
is of course as applicable to them, as to any of the more complex sounds in which con- 
sonants are joined with them. All sounds imply time ; because they are the transient 
effects of certain percussions which temporarily agitate the air, an element that tends to 
silence. When mighty winds have swept over sea and land, and the voice of the 
Ocean is raised, he speaks to the towering cliffs in the deep tones of a lony quantity ; 
the rolling billows, as they meet the shore, pronounce the long-drawn syllables of his 
majestic elocution. But see him again in gentler mood ; stand upon the beach and 
listen to the rippling of his more frequent waves : he will teach you short quantity, as 
well as long. In common parlance, to avoid tediousness, to save time, and to adapt 
language to circumstances, we usually utter words with great rapidity, and in compara- 
tively short quantity. But in oratory, and sometimes in ordinary reading, those sounds 
which are best fitted to fill and gratify the ear, should be sensibly protracted, especially 
in emphatic words ; and even the shortest syllable, must be so lengthened as to be 
uttered with perfect clearness : otherwise the performance will be judged defective. 

Q R8t 10. Some of the vowels are usually uttered in longer time than others ; but 
whether the former are naturally long, and the latter naturally short, may be doubted : 
the common opinion is, that they are. But one author at least denies it ; and says, 
" We must explode the pretended natural epithets short and long given to our vowels, 
independent on accent : and we must observe that our silent e final lengthens not its 
syllable, unless the preceding vowel be accented." Mackintosh's Essay on E. Gram. p. 
232. The distinction of long and short vowels which has generally obtained, and the 
correspondences which some writers have laboured to establish between them, have al- 
ways been to me sources of much embarrassment. It would appear, that in one or two 
instances, sounds that differ only in length, or time, are commonly recognized as differ- 
ent elements ; and that grammarians and orthoepists, perceiving this, have attempted to 
carry out the analogy, and to find among what they call the long vowels a parent sound 
for each of the short' ones. In doing this, they have either neglected to consult the ear, 
or have not chosen to abide by its verdict. I suppose the vowels heard in pull and pool 
jsvould be necessarily identified, if 1 the former were protracted or the latter shortened ; 
and perhaps there would be a like coalescence of those heard in of and all, were they 
tried in the same way, though I am not sure of it. In protracting the e in met, and the 
i in. fthi.p, ignorance or carelessness might perhaps, with the help of our orthoepists, con- 
vert the former word into mate and the latter into sheep ; and, as this would breed con- 
fusion in the language, the avoiding of the similarity may perhaps be a sufficient reason 
for confining these two sounds of e and i, to that short quantity in which they cannot 
be mistaken. But to suppose, as some do, that the protraction of u in tun would identify 
it with the o in tone, surpasses any notion I have of what stupidity may misconceive. 
With one or two exceptions, therefore, it appears to me that each of the pure vowel 
sounds is of such a nature, that it may be readily recognized by its own peculiar quality 
or tone, though it be made as long or as short as it is possible for any sound of the hu- 
man voice to be. It is manifest that each of the vowel sounds heard in ate, at, arm, all, 

*' ; \Vhen these sounds are openly pronounced, they produce the familiar assent ay: which, by the old 
English iram^tie Writers, was often expressed by '/." Walker. We still hear it so among the vulgar; as, 
" 1,1, sir, presently ! " for ' Ay, ay, sir, presently ! ;; Shakspeare wrote, 

" To sleepe, perchance to dreame ; I, there's the rub." Buckets Classical Gram. p. 148. 

t Walker pronounces yi'io and you precisely alike. " I/OD ; : ' but. certainly, fw is no: commonly equivalent 
to oo, though some make it so : thus Gardiner, in his scheme of the VOWete, sa>s. " > n- equals oo, as in neiu, 
noo." Music of Nature, p. 489. Noo for neiv is a vulgarism, to my ear. G. Brown. 


rel, old, on-c, us, may ho protracted to the entire extent of a full breath slowly expended, 
and still he precisely the same one simple sound ;* and, on the contrary, that all hut 
one limy be 1 to the very minimum of vo:-ality, and still he severally known 

without danger of mistake. The prolation of a pure vowel places the organs of utter- 
ance in that particular position which the sound of the letter requires, and then holds 
mi wed till we have given to it all the length we choose. 

' 1. In treating of the quantity and quality of the vowels, Walker says, " The 
first distinction of sound that seems to obtrude itself upon us when we utter the vow- 
els, i> a long and a short sound, according to the greater or less duration of time taken 
up in pronouncing them. This distinction is so obvious as to have been adopted in all 
languages, and is that to which we annex r //// to amj <>th,-r ; and though the 

uue vowels have not iu our language been classed with sutticici. 
ra -v with their parent long ones, yet this has bred but little confusion, as vowt 
and short are always sufficiently distinguishable." I'l'/nr//,/,-*, No. 63. Again: "But 
though the terms long and short, as applied to vowels, are pretty generally uinh 
an accurate ear will easily perceive tlxat the>e terms do not always mean the long and 
short sounds of the respective vowels to which they are applied; for, if we choose to be 
i by the ear, in denominating vowels long or short, we must certainly give these 
appellations to those sounds only which have c.ractlij tin- name radical t<>it<-, and differ only 
in the long or short emission of that tone." Ih. No. i\\\. lie then proreed> to -.rate his 
opinion that the vowel sounds heard in the following words are thus correspondent i 

//-,///, ir,t,if ; dn>rn, tjon<- ; tln'in,-, hint ; f<nti>, nearly tun ;/.. 

As to the IOHL: Bounds of / or //, and of ;/, these two being diphthongal, he suppo>e> the 
!i to be no other than the short sound of its latter element ee or oo. 
Now to me m i-t of tli - liugly unsatisfactory ; and I have shown why. 

\'l. If in. MI'S notions of the length and shortness of vowels are the clearest ideas 
they have in relation to the elein. >inos it to pass that of all the dis- 

putable points in grammar, this is the most perplexed with contrarieties of opinion r In 
Coming before the world as an author, no man intends to place himself clearly in the 
. on the simple powers of the letters, we have volumes of irreconcilable doc- 
trines. ';nois-.i-ur in things of this sort, who professes to have been long " in the 
habit of listening to sounds of every description, and that with more than ordinary atten- 
tion," declai Mt and expensive work, that " in every language we rind the vowels 
and, in order to give to " the simple elements of English utterance" 

a better explanation than others have furnished, he devotes to a new analysis of our 
Alphabet the ample space of twenty octavo pages, besides having several chap; 
subjects connected with it. And what do his twenty pages amount to r I will give the 
substance of them in ten lines, and the reader may judge. He does not tell us }>w 
inun<i elementary sounds there are; but, professing to arrange the vowels, long and 
short, " in the order in which they are naturally found," as well as to show of the con- 
sonants that the mutes and liquids form correspondents in regular pairs, he presents a 
scheme whii-h 1 abbreviate as follows. YO\\KI,S: 1. .-1, as in all and ir/iiif, or o, as in 
(~ ///// and hut, or /o/v and CO/HI' ; 3. () rnt<- and rrhn ; 4. .1 ah and 

10 short sound ; D. i'. til and // , 7. A" iitf /<// and t/n-f ; <S. () pro 

culo; 9. <n> /oo/ 'and/W; 10. II ro/7- and lair , 11. Y( like the first <' ) syntax and 
duff/. Dn-nnioM^ : 1 . / as !,-,; _'. I' ,. ()( as an-<>. CON 

'/, k or (/, j>, /, t/t x/iitr/i, .v// ,- '1. Liijuids, /, which has no corresponding 

, //, tit Jlat and,/, which severally correspond to the eight mutes 

in their order; :',. Suhliijuids, y hard, b, and d. See "Music of Nature," by II '////// 

\'-\. Dr. liu>h cnnics to the explanation of the powers of the letters as the confi- 
dent "!'- ! inana-enient and wisdom ; and Impe^ to have laid the foun- 
dation rion in reading and oratory, which, if adopted and pel 
" wil1 be-et asin. ,,,,1 t() poSSOSa an 6S 
which must grow into sure and iiTever>ihle fav >ur. "_/'////. f tin- Voiee t p. I'M. " \\ e 

Nilliv.g," li. ;>), /,; that 'nature is wi>e in ti 

trivaiu : now slum, iiy our \\orks of analysis, how she n 

sitnj>/i- unboinided combination.^." Ibid. 

}). II. Again: Kvery one, \\ith peculiar ilaction, thinks he reads well, and 

yet all read ditferently : there is. however, hut , A ell. "!!>. ji. ln:{. 

That one mode, >,.me say, his philosophy aln:e lea, -lies. Of that, Othen may judge. 
I shall only notice here \\ hat seems to bftltil fundamental j)ositiMi, that, on ail tl.. 

*" As harmony \s an inlii-rent i ui,,|. lu- car >li.nil.| I..- lir-r . :illr.l to flic nttei.tion of simple 


Mini is a mix 
thret- j. urs." lh. p 


elements of language, nature has stamped duplicity. To establish this extraordinary 
doctrine, he first attempts to prove, that " the letter a, as heard in the word day" com- 
bines two distinguishable yet inseparable sounds ; that it is a compound of what he calls, 
with reference to vowels and syllables in general, " the radical and the vanishing move- 
ment of the voice," a single and indivisible element in which " two sounds are heard 
continuously successive," the sounds of and e as in ah and eve. He does not know 
that some grammarians have contended that ay in day is a proper diphthong, in which 
both the vowels are heard ; but, so pronouncing it himself, infers from the experiment, 
that there is no simpler sound of the vowel a. If this inference is not wrong, the word 
shape is to be pronounced sha-ejte ; and, in like manner, a multitude of other words will 
acquire a new element not commonly heard in them. 

Os. 14. But the doctrine stops not here. The philosopher examines, in some simi- 
lar way, the other simple vowel sounds, and finds a beginning and an end, a base and 
an apex, a radical and a vanishing movement, to them all ; and imagines a sufficient 
warrant from nature to divide them all " into two parts," and to convert most of them 
into diphthongs, as well as to include all diphthongs with them, as being altogether as 
simple and elementary. Thus he begins with confounding all distinction between diph- 
thongs and simple vowels ; except that which he makes for himself when he admits 
" the radical and the vanish," the first half of a sound and the last, to have no difference 
in quality. This admission is made with respect to the vowels heard in ooze, eel, err, 
end, and in, which he calls, not diphthongs, but " monothongs." But in the, a of ale, he 
hears d'-ee ; in that of an, a'-e ; (that is, the short a followed by something of the sound 
of e in err ;) in that of art, ah'-e ; in that of all, awe'-t; in the i of isle, I'-ee ; in the o of 
old, o'-oo ; in the proper diphthong ou, ou'-oo ; in the oy of boy, he knows not what. 
After his explanation of these mysteries, he says, " The seven radical sounds with their 
vanishes, which have been described, include, as far as I can perceive, all the elementary 
diphthongs of the English language." Ib. p. 60. But all the sounds of the vowel u, 
whether diphthongal or simple, are excluded from his list, unless he means to represent 
one of them by the e in err ; and the complex vowel sound heard in voice and hot/, is con- 
fessedly omitted on account of a doubt whether it consists of two sounds or of three ! 
The elements which he enumerates are thirty-five ; but if oi is not a triphthong, they 
are to be thirty-six. Twelve are called "Tonics; and are heard in the usual sound of 
the separated Italics, in the following words : .4-11, -rt, a-n, a-le, ow-r, i-sle, o-ld, cr-1, 
oo-ze, e-rr, ^-nd, *-n." Ib. p. 53. Fourteen are called " Subtonics ; and are marked by 
the separated Italics, in the following words : J^-ow, rf-are, y-ive, r-ile, z-oi\e, y-e, w-o, 
th-en, a-^-ure, si-nfit l-ove, m-&.y, n-ot, r-oe." Ib. p. 5-i. Nine are called "Atonies; 
they are heard in the words, U-/>, ou-, ar-A-, i-/, ye-s, A-e, w,7i-eat, th-in, pu-s/i." Ib. p. 
56. My opinion of this scheme of the alphabet the reader will have anticipated. 


In printed books of the English language, the Roman characters are 
generally employed ; sometimes, the Italic ; and occasionally, the (Dlfr 
(Snglisl) : but in handwriting, d%*fa fatet* are used, the forms of which 
are peculiarly adapted to the pen. 

Characters of different sorts or sizes should never be needlessly mixed ; 
because facility of reading, as well as the beauty of a book, depends much 
upon the regularity of its letters. 

In the ordinary forms of the Roman letters, every thick stroke that 
slants, slants from the left to the right downwards, except the middle stroke 
in Z ; and every thin stroke that slants, slants from the left to the right 

Italics are chiefly used to distinguish emphatic or remarkable words : in 
the Bible, they show what words were supplied by the translators. 

In manuscripts, a single line drawn under a word is meant for Italics ; 
a double line, for small capitals ; a triple line, for full capitals. 

In every kind of type or character, the letters have severally ttvo forms, 
bv which they are distinguished as capitals and small letters. Small let- 
ters constitute the body of every work ; and capitals are used for the sake 
of eminence and distinction. 


The titles of books, and the heads of their principal divisions, are printed 
wholly in capitals. Showbills, painted signs, and short inscriptions, com- 
monly appear best in full capitals. 

Some of these are so copied in books ; as, " I found an altar with this 
inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." Acts, xvii. 2:J. " And 
thi'v set up over his head, his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS, 
THE KING OF THE JEWS." Matt, xxvii, 37. 


When particular books are mentioned by their names, the chief words in their 
titles begin with capitals, and the other letters are small ; as, " Pope's Essay on 
Man " " the Book of Common Prayer " " the Scriptures of the Old and New 


The first word of every distinct sentence, or of any clause separately numbered 
or paragraphed, should begin with a capital; as, " Rejoice evermore. Pray with- 
out ceasing. In every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ 
'oncoming you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove 
all tiling: holdfast that which is good." 1 T/tcss. v, 10 '21. 
" 14. He has given his assent to their acts of pretended legislation : 
15 rtering large bodies of armed troops among us : 

in. For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for murders: 

17. Fur cutting off our trade with all parts of the world : 

18. For imposing taxes on us without our consent : " &c. 

Declaration of American Independence. 


All names of the Deity, and sometimes their emphatic substitutes, should begin 
with capitals; as, "God, Jehovah, the Almighty, the Supreme Being, Divine 
Providence, the Messiah, the Comforter, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the 

" The hope of my spirit turns trembling to Thee." Moore. 


Proper names, of every description, should always begin with capitals ; as, 
t'T.ii>us, Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, England, London, the Strand, the 
mes, the Pyrenees, the Vatican, the Greeks, the Argo and the Argonauts." 


Titles of office or honour, and epithets of distinction, applied to persons, begin 
usually with capitals; as, " \\\< Majesty William the Fourth, Chief Justice Mar- 
shall, Sir Matthew Hale, Dr. Johnson, the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, Lewis the Bold, 
Charles the Se<-md, .lames the Less, St. Bartholomew, Pliny the Younger, Noah 
Webster, Jun., K 


Those compound proper names which by analogy incline to a union of their parts 
without :i hyphen, should be so written, and have'but one capital : as, " Ka>tp<>rt, 
Eastville, Westborough, Wotfidd, Wottnwn, Whitehall, White-church, White- 
haven, Whiteplains, Mmmtniellirk, Mountpleasant, Germantown, Germanflats, 

* The titulary name of the <arre<l volume i "The Holy IJible " The \vnnl Srn'i'titrf, or Scriptures, is a 
common iiaiiu- for the : (.>\ in this r rul, in the hook r in dis- 

tinguished by a capital ; but, iu other works, it seems proper in general to write it so, by way of eminence. 


Blackrock, Redhook, Kinder-hook, Newfoundland, Statenland, Newcastle, North- 
castle, Southbridge, Fairhaven, Dekalb, Deruyter, Lafayette, Macpherson." 


The compounding of a name under one capital should be avoided when the 
general analogy of other similar terms suggests a separation under two ; as, " The 
chief mountains of Ross-shire are Ben Chat, Benchasker, Ben Golich, Ben Nore, 
Ben Foskarg, and Ben Wyvis." Glasgow Geog., Vol. ii, p. 311. Write Ben 
Chasker. So, when the word East, West, North, or South, as part of a name 
denotes relative position, or when the word New distinguishes a place by contrast, 
we have generally separate words and two capitals; as, " East Greenwich, West 
Greenwich, North Bridgewater, South Bridgewater, New Jersey, New Hamp- 


When any adjective or common noun is made a distinct part of a compound 
proper name, it ought to begin with a capital; as, "The United States, the 
Argentine Republic, the Peak of Teneriffe, the Blue Ridge, the Little Pedee, 
Long Island, Jersey City, Lower Canada, Green Bay, Gretna Green, Land's 
End, the Gold Coast." 


When a common and a proper name are associated merely to explain each other, 
it is in general sufficient, if the proper name begin with a capital, and the appella- 
tive, with a small letter; as, "The prophet Elisha, Matthew the publican, the 
brook Cherith, the river Euphrates, the Ohio river, Warren county, Flatbush 
village, New York city." 


The name of an object personified, when it conveys an idea strictly individual, 
should begin with a capital; as, " Upon this, Fancy began again to bestir her- 
self." Addison. " Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come." Thomson. 


Words derived from proper names, and having direct reference to particular 
persons, places, sects, or nations, should begin with capitals; as, " Platonic, New- 
tonian, Greek, or Grecian, Romish, or Roman, Italic, or Italian, German, or 
Germanic, Swedish, Turkish, Chinese, Genoese, French, Dutch, Scotch, Welsh : " 
so, perhaps, " to Platonize, Grecize, Romanize, Italicize, Latinize, or Frenchify." 


The words /and should always be capitals ; as, " Praise the Lord, Jeru- 
salem ; praise thy God, Zion." Psalm cxlvii. " wretched man that I 
am ! " " For that which I do, I allow not : for what I would, that do I not; but 
what I hate, that do I." Rom. vii, 24. and 15. 


Every line in poetry, except what is regarded as making but one verse with the 
preceding line, should begin with a capital ; as, 

" Our sons their fathers' failing language see, 

And such as Chaucer is, shall Dryden be." Pope. 

Of the exception, some editions of the Psalms in Metre are full of examples ; as, 
" Happy the man whose tender care 

relieves the poor distress'd ! 
When troubles compass him around, 
the Lord shall give him rest." 

Psalms with Com. Prayer, N. T. 1819, Ps. xli. 



The first word of a full example, of a distinct speech, or of a direct quotation, 
should begin with a capital; as, " Hi-member this maxim : ' Know thyself.' " 
" A'iriril suvs. ' Labour conquers all things.' " " Jesus answered them, Is it not 
written in your law. 1 said, \ r e are gods V " John, x, 34. " Thou knowest the 
commandments. Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear 
false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother." Luke, xviii, 20. 


( >rher words of particular importance, and such as denote the principal subjects 
treated of, may be distinguished by capitals ; and names subscribed frequently 
have capitals throughout : as, " In its application to the Executive, with reference 
to the Legislative branch of the Government, the same rule of action should make 
the President ever anxious to avoid the exercise of any discretionary authority 
which can be regulated by Congress." ANUUKW JACKSON, 1835. 


Capitals are improper wherever there is not some special rule or reason for their 

: a century ago books were disfigured by their frequency; as, " Many a 

Noble Genius is. lost for want of Kilnnitlnn. Which wou'd then be Much More 

Liberal. As it was when the Church Eujoy'd her Possessions. And Learning 

in the Dark Ages, Preserv'd almost only among the Clergy" CHARLES 

LzSLIB, 1700; Divine Might of Tyf/ies, p. 228 


>f the alphabet, read by their names, are equivalent to words. 

;_ r ns, by which we may mark and particulari/e objects of 
. named or nameles> ; a-. "To say, therefore, that while A and B are both 
\ ,: e or less quadrangular than B, is absurd." Murray's Gram. 50. 

fence they air used in the sciences as symbols of an infinite variety of things or ideas, 
'istrued both substantively and adjectively ; as, "In ascending from the note C 
I), the interval is equal to an inch ; and from D to E, the same." Music of Nafurf, 
"We have only to imagine the G clef placed below it." Ib. Any of their 
ms may hi- u-cd lor such purposes, but the custom of each science determines our 
| bra employs small Italics ; Music, Horn an capitals ; Geometry, for 
reck characters ; and Grammar, in some part or 
Then comes answer like an ABC book." Beauties of 
" Tiieu .// like an a, 6, c, book. Shaks^care" See A, B, 

C, in ./ Better : "like an A-Bce-Cee book." 

" For A, his magic pen evokes an O, 

And turns the tide of Europe on the foe." Young. 

-'. A lavish use of capita'.- :y purpose for which the letters were 

.i-hed in rank; and < to the- rules which govern them, may 

the -writer'- meaning. On many oecasiu: , their use or 

Mient and taste of authors and printers. 

This kind will, for the most part, concern <-lii,-f m ink, and come under the 
I Miiiar, the number of rules is increased ; but the fore- 

' irate uniformity. They will however 
lesirable result ; and if doubts arise in their application, the difficulties 
will be in partieif. 1 not in the general principles of the rules. For 

our Bibl> d be thou, I.<>KI> 

God of Israel our fath- : and ever." Others say, "BleflSed be thou, LOKD God 

of I-r;.. T and ever." And others,' " ]',lc ed be thou, I 

Israel our Fathi .. The last is wrong, either in tl,< 1'. or for 

lack of a comma after /-/<//. The others differ in meaning; because they con-true the 
word/ 7/,/-. differently. Which is right I know not. The 

the Latin Vulgate, and the -e.-ond, with the Greek text of the Septuagint ; whick two 
fame - here di-a-ree, without ambiguity in either.* 

ah eterno in eternum." Vrfg'ite. " Eterti. 

>n French Bible. " EuXoy^rdf ct Kupu 6 
Qtoi 'l<rpur/X 6 ffurrjp foGitt/ dno roii aiuvof icai tn>l TOV iiwvoj." Stptuagint. 


OBS. 3. The innumerable discrepancies in respect to capitals, which, to a greater or 
less extent, disgrace the very best editions of our most popular books, are a sufficient 
evidence of the want of better directions on thh point. In amending the rules for this 
purpose, I have not been able entirely to satisfy myself; and therefore must needs fail to 
satisfy the very critical reader. But the public shall have the best instructions I can 
give. On Rule 1st, concerning Books, it may be observed, that when particular books 
or writings are mentioned by other terms than their real titles, the principle of the rule 
does not apply. Thus, one may call Paradise Lost, " Milton's great poem ; " or the 
Diversions of Purley, "the etymological investigations of Home Tooke." So it is written 
in the Bible, " And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias." 
Luke, iv, 17. Because the name of Esaias, or Isaiah, seems to be the only proper title 
of his book. 

OBS. 4. On Rule 2d, concerning First Words, it may be observed, that the using of 
other points than the period, to separate sentences that are totally distinct in sense, as 
is sometimes practised in quoting, is no reason for the omission of capitals at the begin- 
ning of such sentences ; but, rather, an obvious reason for their use. Our grammarians 
frequently manufacture a parcel of puerile examples, and, with the formality of appa- 
rent quotation, throw them together in the following manner : " He is above disguise ; " 
" w r e serve under a good master ; " " he rules over a willing people ; " " we should do 
nothing beneath our character." Murray's Gram. p. 118. These sentences, and all 
others so related, should, unquestionably, begin with capitals. Of themselves, they are 
distinct enough to be separated by the period and a dash. With examples of one's own 
making, the quotation points may be used or not, as the writer pleases ; but not on 
their insertion or omission, nor even on the quality of the separating point, depends in 
all cases the propriety or impropriety of using initial capitals. For example : " The 
Future Tense is the form of the verb which denotes future time ; as, John will come, 
you shall go, they will learn, the sun will rise to-morrow, he will return next week." 
Frazees Improved Gram. p. 38 ; Old Edition, 35. To say nothing of the punctuation here 
used, it is certain that the initial words, you, they, the, and he, should have commenced 
with capitals. 

OBS. 5. On Rule 3d, concerning Names of Deity, it may be observed, that the words 
Lord and God take the nature of proper names, only when they are used in reference 
to the Eternal Divinity. The former, as a title of honour to men, is usually written with 
a capital ; but, as a common appellative, with a small letter. The latter, when used 
with reference to any fabulous deity, or when made plural to speak of many, should 
seldom, if ever, begin with a capital ; for we do not write with a capital any common 
name which we do not mean to honour : as, " Though there be that are called gods, 
whether in heaven or in earth as there be gods many, and lords many." 1 Cor. viii, 5. 
But a diversity of design or conception in respect to this kind of distinction, has pro- 
duced great diversity concerning capitals, not only in original writings, but also in re- 
prints and quotations, not excepting even the sacred books. Example : " The Lord is 
a great God, and a great King above all Gods." Gurney's Essays, p. 88. Perhaps the 
writer here exalts the inferior beings called gods, that he may honour the one true God 
the more ; but the Bible, in four editions to which I have turned, gives the word gods 
no capital. See Psalms, xcv, 3. The word Heaven put for God, begins with a capital ; 
but when taken literally, it commonly begins with a small letter. Several nouns 
occasionally connected w"ith names of the Deity, are written with a very puzzling di- 
versity : as, "The Lord of Sabaoth;" "The Lord God of hosts;" "The God of 
armies ; " " The Father of goodness ; " " The Giver of all good ; " " The Lord, the 
righteous Judge." All these, and many more like them, are found sometimes with a 
capital, and sometimes without. Sabaoth, being a foreign word, and used only in this 
particular connexion, usually takes a capital ; but the equivalent English words do not 
seem to require it. For " Judge" in the last example, I would use a capital ; for "good" 
and "goodness," in the preceding ones, the small letter : the one is an eminent name, 
the others are mere attributes. Alger writes, "the Son of Man," with two capitals; 
others, perhaps more properly, " the Son of man," with one wherever that phrase 
occurs in the New Testament. But, in some editions, it has no capital at all. 

OBS. 6. On Rule 4th, concerning Proper Names, it may be observed, that the appli- 
cation of this principle supposes the learner to be able to distinguish between proper 
names and common appellatives. Of the difference between these two classes of words, 
almost every child that can speak, must have formed some idea. I once noticed that a 
very little boy, who knew no better than to call a pigeon a turkey because the creature 
had feathers, was sufficiently master of this distinction, to call many individuals by 
their several names, and to apply the common words, man, woman-, boy, girl, &c., with 
that generality which belongs to them. There is, therefore, some very plain ground for 
this rule. But not all is plain, and I will not veil the cause of embarrassment. It is only 
an act of imposture, to pretend that grammar is easy, in stead of making it so. Innu- 


merable instances occur, in which the following assertion is by no means true : " The 
distinction between a common and a proper noun is very oiboioiu" Kirkh mil's (irain. p. 
3J. Xor do the remarks of this author, or those of any other that I am acquainted with, 
remove my part of the difficulty. We are told by this gentleman, (in language incor- 
rigibly bad, ) that, V which denote the genus species, or variety of beings or 
are always common ; as tr,T, the genus ; nak, />//, <' T, different spe- 
, : >'a<-'; ,>uk, varieties." //;. p. :J2. Now, as it requires but one 

noitn to denote either a genus or a specie-*, I know not how to conceive of th--i*c "minus 
which dcnot - of things" except a.s of other confusion and nonsense ; and, as 

for the three varieties of oak, there are surely no " noun* " here to denote them, unless he 
will have m/, irl, '. to be nouns. But what shall we say of " the Red sea," 

the White sea, the BUck sea;" or, with two capitals, " Red Sea, White Sea, Black 
in 1 a thousand other similar terms, which are neither proper names unless 
they are written with capitals, nor written with capitals unless they are first judged to 
be proper inmes ? The simple phrase, "the united states," has nothing of the nature 
of a proper name ; but what is the character of the term, when written with two capi- 
tals, "the United States?" If we contend that it is not then a proper name, we 
make our country anonymous. And what shall we say to those grammarians who 
contend, that " // . l-'urf/i, Sun, and Moon, are proper names; " and that, as 

such, they should be written with capitals? See (fmrch ill's Gram. p. 380. 

7. It would seem that most, if not all, proper names had originally some 
common signification, and that very many of our ordinary words and phrases have 
inverted into proper names merely by being applied to particular persons, places, 
or objects, and receiving the distinction of capitals. How many of the ocean . 

.-lands, m Mintains, states, counties, streets, institutions, buildings, ami other 

. which we constantly particularize, have no other proper name.- than sac i as are 

111 perhaps, in many instances, essentially appellative ! 

The difficult. will be further noticed below. A proper noun is the 

particular individual, group, or people ; as, Adam, Boston, the Hudson, the 

. the Rninann, the Jwa, the .It-suits, the Clu-rokt't-s. This is as good a 

definition a> I can give of a proper noun or name. Thus we commonly distinguish the 

>f particular persons, j laces, nations, tribes, or sects, with capitals. Yet we 

i, the moon, the equator, and many other particular objects, without a cap- 
ital ; f >r the word /// may give a particular meaning to a common noun, without con- 
verting it into a proper name : but if we say .W, for the sun, or Limn, for the moon, we 
write it with a capital. With some apparent inconsistency, we commonly write the 
word (!<-ntili-s with a capital, but ji<if/nnx, ht-dt/i'-n*, and /</-//r^r^ t without : thus eu.-tom 
rked these names with degradation. The names of the days of the week, and 
of the months, ho\\v -ed, apj ear to me to partake of the nature of 

proper names, and to require capitals : as, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, HWm-W,///, Thurs- 
day, Fridaii, Satn, - the Friends denominate them, Firstclay, Secondday, Third- 
'ifthday, Sixthday t Seventhday. So, if they will not use January, Feb- 
ruary, &c., they should write as proper names their Firstmontli, Si-romlm >,<th, \e. 
Tin- Hebrew names for the months, wen- also proper nouns : to wit, Abib, /if, Sivan, 
Thamu/, Ab, Klul, Tisri, Marchesvan, Chisleu, Tebeth, Shebat, Adar ; the year, with 
the a: i i> lit Je\-, bc^inniiiL;', as . mr- mice did, in March. 

: >:i Ivule ."jth, concern] >nr, it may be observed, that names of 

office or rank, however high, do not require capitals merely as such ; for, when we use 
them alone in their ordina: .r simply place them in appo.-ition with proper 

. without intending any particular honour, we begin them with a .-mall letter: as, 
"the. -- our mighty sovereign, Abb. .vidthe 

King . " "Tidal kin- of nations ; " " Bminer, 1 ;- -ndon ; " " Tin 

pha/. the ti: <u ; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke /epho, duke Kena/, duke 

Korah, duke (Jatam, and duke Amalek." </',-//. \\.\vi, , ..etimes, in addi< 

which even the _ > intended to be shown : indeed 

down at the tirst time to buy food." r,Y//. xliii, l _0. " ( ) mjford, let thy 8< rvant, I prav 

. word in my h) -Gen. xliv, IS. The' Bible, which mak. - 

account of worldly ho: itals under this rule; but, in soyie editions, 

we find "Xehemiah th- .,[ tin- T, fmr, //," each with a i. 

capital. Murray, in whose illustrations the word kin-j occurs nearly one hundred times, 
seldom honours 1: [tal ; and, what is more, in all this ma%\kish men- 

tioning of royalty, nothing i ./// knotrimi. Example.-: "The Liny 

and the queen had put on their robes." M l/n -ai/'.s C,rn,n. \>. \.~>l. " The /./////, with IILS 
life-guard, has just passed through the village." //,,. l.iO. "Tin- Lin>i of (iieat Hritain's 
dominions." Ih. \.~y. ( )n a sudden appeared the kin<i." 1/>. 146. "Long live the 
Kiinj ! " lh. MI;. On which side soever the hii,<j rust hi.- tje8."Ib. I ''>. " It is the 
kiiiy of Great Britain's." Ib. 176. " He desired to be their kiny."Ib. 181. " They desired 


him' to be their king" Ib. 181. " He caused himself to be proclaimed king." Ib. 182. 
These examples, and thousands more as simple and worthless, are among the pretended 
quotations by which this excellent man, thought " to promote the cause of virtue, as 
well as of learning ! " 

OBS. 9. On llule 6th, concerning One Capital for Compounds, I would observe, that 
perhaps there is nothing more puzzling in grammar, than to find out, amidst all the di- 
versity of random writing, and wild guess-work in printing, the true way in which the 
compound names of places should be written. For example : What in Greek was " ho 
Areios Pagos," the Martial Hill, occurs twice in the New Testament : once, in the accusa- 
tive case, "ton Areion Pagon," which is rendered Areopagus ; and once, in the genitive, 
" tou Areiou Pagou," which, in different copies of the English Bible is made Mars' Hill, 
Mars' hill, Mars' -hill, Marshill, Mars Hill, and perhaps Mars hill. But if Mars must 
needs be put in the possessive case, (which I doubt,) they are all wrong : for then it 
should be Mars' s Hill; as the name Campus Martins is rendered tl Mars' s Field," in Collier's 
Life of Marcus Antoninus. We often use nouns adjectively; and Areios is an adjec- 
tive : I would therefore write this name Mars Hill, as we write Bunker Hill. Again : 
Whitehaven and Fairhaven are commonly written with single capitals ; but, of .six or 
seven towns called Neivhaven or New Haven, some have the name in one word and some 
in two. Haven means a harbour, and the words, New Haven, written separately, would 
naturally be understood of a harbour : the close compound is obviously more suitable 
for the name of a city or town. In England, compounds of this kind 'are more used 
than in America ; and in both countries the tendency of common usage seems to be, 
to contract and consolidate such terms. Hence the British counties are almost all 
named by compounds ending with the word shire ; as, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, 
Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, &c. 
But the best books we have, are full of discrepancies and errors in respect to names, 
whether foreign or domestic ; as, " Ulswater is somewhat smaller. The handsomest is 
Derwentwater." Balbi's Geog. p. 212. " Ullswater, a lake of England," &c. " Dencent- 
Water, a lake in Cumberland," &c. Univ. Gazetteer. " Ulleswater, lake, Eng. situated 
partly in Westmoreland," &c. Worcester's Gaz. " Derwent Water, lake, Eng. in Cum- 
berland." Ibid. These words, I suppose, should be written Ullswater and Derwenttmter. 

OBS. 10. An affix, or termination, differs from a distinct word ; and is commonly 
understood otherwise, though it may consist of the same letters and have the same 
sound. Thus, if I were to write Stow Bridge, it would be understood of a bridge ; if 
Stowbridge, of a town : or the latter might even be the name of & family. So Belli- isle, is 
the proper name of a strait ; and Belle Isle of several different islands in France and 
America. Upon this plain distinction, and the manifest inconvenience of any violation 
of so clear an analogy of the language, depends the propriety of most of the corrections 
which I shall offer under Rule 6th. But if the inhabitants of any place choose to call 
their town a creek, a river, a harbour, or a bridge, and to think it officious in other men 
.to pretend to know better, they may do as they please. If between them and their 
correctors there lie a mutual charge of misnomer, it is for the literary world to deter- 
mine who is right. Important names are sometimes acquired by mere accident. Those 
which are totally inappropriate, no reasonable design can have bestowed. Thus a fan- 
cied resemblance between the island of Aquidneck, in Narraganset Bay, and that of 
Rhodes, in the vEgean Sea, has at length given to a state, or republic, which lies chicjh/ on 
the main land, the absurd name of Rhode Island ; so that now, to distinguish Aquidneck 
itself, geographers resort to the strange phrase, " the Island of 11 hode hland." Balbi. 
The official title of this little republic, is, the State of Rhode Inland and Proridcnce 1'lant- 
atio/m." But this name is not only too long for popular use, but it is doubtful in its 
construction and meaning. It is capable of being understood in four different ways. 1. 
A stranger to the fact, would not learn from this phrase, that the " Providence Planta- 
tions " are included in the " State of Rhode Island," but would naturally inter the con- 
trary. 2. The phrase, " Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," may be supposed 
to mean "Rhode Island [Plantations] and Providence Plantations." 3. It may be un- 
derstood to mean " Rhode Island and Providence [i. e. two] Plantations." 4* It may 
be taken for "Rhode Island" [i. e. as an island] and the "Providence Plantations." 
Which, now, of all these did Charles the Second mean, when he gave the colony this 
name, with his charter, in 1663? It happened that he meant the last; but I doubt 
whether any man in the state, except perhaps some learned lawyer, can parse the phrase, 
with any certainty of its true construction and meaning. This old title can never be 
used, except in law. To write the popular name Rhodcisland, as Dr. Webster has it,* 
would be some improvement upon it; but to make it Rhode/and, or simply Rhode, would 
be much more appropriate. As for Rhode Island, it ought to mean nothing but the 
island ; and it is, in fact, an abuse of language, to apply it otherwise. In one of his pars- 

* Webster's old American Spelling-Book, p. 121. 


--.ns, S; mborn gives us for good English the following tautology : " Rhode Inland 
\ its name from the island of Rhode Jxlund." Aiiah/firal drum. p. 37. Think of 
that sentence ! 

()I ;N . 11. () u Rules 7th and 8th, concerning Tiro Capiftih for Compounds,! would 

. with ;i general reference to t!. which <le>i<rnate particular 

-y matter to determine, either from custom or from 

analo-v, \\hrther >ueh eonnnou words as may happen to be embraced in them, are to be 
; compound proper names and written with capitals, or to be regarded 
as appellatives, requiring small letters according to linle '.th. Again the question may 
he, whether they ought not to be joined to the foregoing word, according to Rule 6th. 
Let the mil;. uples under these four rules he duly considered : for u- 

, h of them, i- diverse ; so much so, that we not unfrequently find it contra- 
dictory, in the very *ame page, paragraph, or even sentence. Perhaps we may reach 
some principles of uniformity and con-i-4ency, by observing the several diH'erent kinds 
of phrases thus used. 1. We often add an adjective to an old proper name to make a 
new one, or to serve the purpose of distinction: as, New York, New Orlean-. 

I, New Hedford ; North America, South America; Vppc-r Canada, Lower Can- 
B, Little Pedee ; Ka-t Cambridge, West Cambridge; Troy, West Troy. 
All names of this class require two capitals: except a few which are joined together ; 
iniinjiton, which is sometimes more analogically written \ortli //</////;////. 'J. We 
often u-e ti. r case with some common noun after it; as, Behring's Straits, 

Balh'n's Bay, Cook's Inlet, Van Diemen's Land, Martha's Vineyard, Sacket's Harbour, 
Glenn's Falls. Names of this class generally have more than one capital ; and perhaps 
all of them should be written so, except such as coalesce ; as, Gravesend, Moorstown, 
the CrowMi''-t. '>. \Ve sometimes use two common nouns with of between them ; as, 
; Hope, the l>le of Man, the Isles of Shoals, the Lake of the Woods, 
the Mountains of the Moon. Such nouns are usually written with more than one capi- 
tal. I would therefore write "the Mount of Olives" in this manner, though it is not 
ily found so in the Bible. 4. We often use an adjective and a common noun; 
as, the Yellow sea, the Indian ocean, the White hills, Crooked lake, the Red river ; 
K ith two capitals, the Yellow Sea, the Indian Ocean, the White Hills, Crooked 
e, the Red River. In this class of names the adjective is the distinctive word, and 
is a capital; respecting the other term, usage is divided, but seems rather to 
ur two capitals. 5. We frequently put an appellative, or common noun, before or 
^r a proper name ; as, New York city, Washington street, Plymouth county, Green- 
wich vilLige. " The Carondelet canal extends from the city of New Orleans to the 
bayou St. John, connecting lake Pontchartrain with the Mississippi river." Balbi's 
. Thi> is apposition. In phrases of this kind, the common noun often has a capi- 
tal, but it seldom absolutely requires it ; and in general a small letter is more correct, 
iu >ome few instances in which the common noun is regarded as a permanent 
the name; as in Washington (V ''////. G. The words Mount, C'tpr, Lake, 

and Ha y, are now generally written with capital* when connected with their proper 
Mount Hope, Cape Cod, Lake Erie, Casco Bay. But they are not always 
written, even in modem books; and in the Bible we read of "" mount Horeb, 
ount Sinai, mount Zion, mount Olivet," and many others, always with a single 

1 2. In modern compound names, the hyphen is now less frequently used than 
: few years ago. They seldom, if ever, need it, unless they are employed as 
:id then there is a manite-t propriety in inserting it. Thus the phrase, "the 
mlon l>ridge," can be understood only of a i.< in. London; anil if we 

tend by it a bri M London, \\ e i he Nc\\ -London Bridge." So 

properly a directory for New York, but a new direc- 
York. I tl book-- with titles which, for this reason, we: 

ret to the ancient Scripture name-;, of this cia-s, we lind, in 
: as in other books, many discrepancies The 

ader :; lir specimen of them, by compai. : \vo vocab- 

ker'a IM-V. lie %\ ill there meet with an abundance of example- like ' 
ih ; Talitha Cumi, Talithacumi ; Nathan M.-lech, N,r 

rholah; Ila/.el Llp.'.ni, Ila/eleponi ; Ax noth Tabor, 
otli- .il-hamon ; Ilamou < Jog, Ilamongog; liaal /. 

ul) ; Sht'-thar IJo/.'nai, Shether-b. r.'ulacli l!al adan, MiTodarh-bal adan." 

ing ineo;;- and many more, lias J)r. \\ ' yped from 

alker, in h ': tionary ! more need of the hyphen in such i. 

in in those of modern times. They ought, in some in>tan< -es, to be joined together 
ithout it; and, in others, to be written separately, with double capit,. 

-hould be had to the ancient text. The phrase, Talitha, cumi " i. e. " 1 ' 

is found in some Bibles, Talitha-cumi ; " but this form of it is no more correct 


than either of those quoted above. See Mark, y, 41st, in Griesbach's Greek Testament, 
where a comma divides this expression. 

OBS. 13. On Rule llth, concerning Derivatives, I would observe, that not only the 
proper adjectives, to which this rule more particularly refers, but also nouns, and even 
verbs, derived from such adjectives, are frequently, if not generally, written with an. 
initial capital. Thus, from Greece, we have Greek, Greeks, Greekish, Greekling, Grecize, 
Grecism, Grecian, Grecians, Grecianize. So Murray, copying Blair, speaks of " Latin- 
ized English ; " and, again, of style strictly " English, without Scotticisms or Gallicisms." 
Mur. Gram. p. 295 ; Blair's Lect. p. 93. But it is questionable, how far this principle re- 
specting capitals ought to be carried. The examples in Dr. Johnson's quarto Dictionary 
exhibit the words, gallicisms, anglicisms, Hebrician, latinize, latinized, judaized, and 
christianized, without capitals ; and the words Latinisms, Grecisms, Hebraisms, and 
Frenchified, under like circumstances, with them. Dr. Webster also defines Romanize, 
" To Latinize ; to conform to Romish opinions." In the examples of Johnson, there is a 
manifest inconsistency. Now, \vith respect to adjectives from proper names, and also to 
the nouns formed immediately from such adjectives, it is clear that they ought to have 
capitals : no one will contend that the words American and Americans should be written 
with a small a. With respect to Americanism, Gallicism, and other similar words, there 
may be some room to doubt. But I prefer a capital for these. And, that we may have 
a uniform rule to go by, 1 would not stop here, but would write Americanize and A >m<ri- 
canized with a capital also ; for it appears that custom is in favour of thus distinguishing 
nearly all verbs and participles of this kind, so long as they retain an obvious reference 
to their particular origin. But when any such word ceases to be understood as referring 
directly to the proper name, it may properly be written without a capital. Thus we 
write jalap from Jalapa, hermetical from Hermes, hymeneal from Hymen, simony, from 
Simon, philippic from Philip ; the verbs, to hector, to romance, to japan, to christen, to 
philippize, to galvanize ; and the adverbs hermetically and jesuitically, all without a capi- 
tal : and perhaps judaize, christianize, and their derivatives, may join this class. Dr. 
Webster's octavo Dictionary mentions " the prussic acid" and tt 2Jrnssian blue," without 
a capital ; and so does Worcester's. 

OBH. 14. On Rule 12th, concerning 7 and O, it may be observed, that although 
many who occasionally write, are ignorant enough to violate this, as well as every other 
rule of grammar, yet no printer ever commits blunders of this sort. Consequently, the 
few erroneous examples Avhich will be exhibited for correction under it, will not be un- 
designed mistakes. Among the errors of books, we do not find the printing of the words 
I and O in small characters ; but the confounding of O with the other interjection oh, is 
not uncommon even among grammarians. The latter has no concern with this rule, nor is 
it equivalent to the former, as a sign : O is a note of wishing, earnestness, and vocative 
address ; but oh is, properly, a sign of sorrow, pain, or surprise. In the following ex- 
ample, therefore, a line from Milton is perverted : 

" Oh thou ! that with surpassing glory crowned ! " Bucke's Gram. p. 88. 

OBS. 15. On Rule 13th, concerning Poetry, it may be observed, that the princi^ 
applies only to regular versification, which is the common form, if not the distinguishi: 
mark, of poetical composition. And, in this, the practice of beginning every line wi 
a capital is almost universal ; but I have seen some books in which it was whimsi 
disregarded. Such poetry as that of Macpherson's Ossian, or such as the common tr; 
lation of the Psalms, is subjected neither to this rule, nor to the common laws of ve 

Ous. 16. On Rule 14th, concerning Examples, Speeches, and Quotations, it may 
observed, that the propriety of beginning these with a capital or otherwise, depends in 
some measure upon their form. One may suggest certain words by way of example, (as 
see, saw, seeing, seen,) and they will require no capital; or he may sometimes write one 
half of a sentence in his own words, and quote the other with the guillemots and no 
capital ; but whatsoever is cited as being said with other relations of what is called per- 
son, requires something to distinguish it from the text into which it is woven. Thus 
Cobbett observes, that, "The French, in their Bible, say Le Vcrbe, where \ve say The 
Word." E. Gram. p. 21. Cobbett says the whole of this ; but he here refers one short 
phrase to the French nation, and an other to the English, not improperly beginning 
each with a capital, and further distinguishing them by Italic^. Our common Bibles 
make no use of the quotation points, but rely solely upon capitals and the common 
points, to show where any particular speech begins or ends. In some instances, the 
insufficiency of these means is greatly felt, notwithstanding the extraordinary care of 
the original writers, in the use of introductory phrases. Murray says, " When a quo- 
tation is brought in obliquely after a comma, a capital is unnecessary : as, " Solomon 
observes, ' that pride goes before destruction.' " Octavo Gram. p. 284. But, as the 
word ' that ' belongs not to Solomon, and the next word begins his assertion, I think we 


lie it, "Solomon oh>erves, tlnit, ' 7V/<A- t/o<f/i before destruction.' " Or, if we 
t-i quote liim literally, we may omit the guillemets, and say, "Solomon 
res that pri . .ore destruction." 



$y- [Th" improprieties In the f.. 11.. win- ex imple- are to be corrected onlly bv the Iparn- - 

:.. lined from tlum with siu-h .-li- 

if.juiic. A e..met example \\ill oeoasiunallv he admitted fur r, or that 

. It \vill al- cupidity 

nd wake up. Lut a full explanation of what is intended, will be afforded in tin 


" Many a reader of the bible knows not who wrote the acts of the apostles." G. B. 

!"(>er, because the words, biUe., acts, and apottltt, here begin wrii -mail 
nle l.-t, \\lieii par icular books are mentioned by their names the chief words 

in their n 1 t|,. other letters are small." Therefore, " Bible" should begin with a 

. ' ca< h with a large A.] 

" The sons O f Lei i. the chief of the fathers, were written in the book of the chroni- 

S i i'> Bn;u: : A". //. xii, 'J3. " Are they not written in the book of the 
Solomon r " S< xi, 41. " Are they nut written in the book of the 

C'liruni.-li's of thekin^ of l>rael : " AI.CKII : 1 / " Are tliey not written 

in the hook of the chronii-lc* of the kin^s of Judah *: " SCOTT : ib. vir. 4o. Which 

i in the la\v of Mo-cs, and in the prophets, and in the psalms." 
. ;.. 41. " The narrative of wlii-hma;. i Jpsephus's ffistory of the 

ix. " Tliis history of the Jewish war was Josephus's 

. .lid publi-' A. I). 7~>." A -//'<.v. "! have re. id,' says 

. 'the chronology of Justus of Tiherias.' " /,. Jof. 1. 'hilosophical 

\ i-itten l>y James Harris, Esquire." M<n-r<ifs Cram. p. 34. "The reader is 
Stfoud's sketch of the slave lawp." : . i, -'>. " But (jod has 

hilile that it interprets itself." Ih. i, 78. " In Io(i2, with the help of Hop- 
kins, lie completed the psalter." M '/<-, p. -js:}. "(iardincr says this of 
. whom the universal biographical dictionary and the American encyclopedia 
:hat he died in 1 ">!!>." .\nflir. "The title of a Book, to wit : ' English Grammar 

kc. Kirl;lnnn'K drum. p. '2. " We had not, at that time, S< 

Kirk!; .mar in familiar Lectures.'" Ib. p. 3. "When you parse, you may 

you." Ib. p. o3. "Whenever you parse, you may 
," V>. p. 113. "Adc'.un.,' was the author of a 

grammatical and criti'-al dic-rionary of theOerman lau^ua^e. and other works." f '/>-. 
'y, William, author of the poor man's li'trary,' and a translation of 
uch, died in 1-370." Ib. 


\- : improve your time : !' : sins." Murrny's Gram. p. 61. 

il." Therefore, u Jiiipnive. ' 

.1 F.J 

'uptin-4 ; t ; ;x Hon is bi)l-l." M,,r. dram. 

,.iin : "It may : .1,1 walk; they should 

B above- dis- 
' Ih. ]). J 

'.und with worse'illu -:.iiri- 

!-w of tli' ;my just 

abundant ; but : r. tlieu lc" : 

merit!. la his who could writ '." Author. ' 

i liri^lit boy: "pray, what arc rhnMr. Auth >r make ne\\ 

when he pi' i diem, but 

what ft] .. i/ - " tafSWl : : M 

of the ' ' -'lisname, . rheir torn.. h call them 

" if is a personal proiioun. of tlie 
third } . \lsr."Oomly' <ir-im. TJth E 1. - .al pronoun, 



of the first person plural." Ib. 138. " thee is a personal pronoun, of the second person 
singular." Ib. 126. " contentment is a noun common, of the third person singular." 
Ib. 128. " were is a neuter verb, of the indicative mood, imperfect tense." Ib, 129. 

" O thou dispenser of life ! thy mercies are boundless." W. Allen's Gram. p. 449. 

[FORMULE Not proper, because the word dispenser begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 3d, 
" All names of the Deity, and sometimes their emphatic substitutes, should begin with capitals. Therefore, 
" Dispenser " should here begin with a capital D.] 

" Shall not the judge of all the earth do right ? " SCOTT : Gen. xviii, 25. " And the 
spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Murray's Gram. p. 330. It is the 
gift of him, who is the great author of good, and the Father of mercies." Ib. 287. " This 
is thy god that brought thee up out of Egypt." SCOTT, ALGER : Neh. ix, 18. " For the 
lord is our defence; and the holy one of Israelis our king." See Psalm Ixxxix, 18. 
"By making him the responsible steward of heaven's bounties." Anti-Slavery Mag. i, 
29. " Which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day." SCOTT, I ( 'IUEXDS : 
2 Tim. iv, 8. " The cries of them * * * entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth." 
SCOTT : Jas. v, 4. " In Horeb, the deity revealed himself to Moses, as the eternal I 
am, the self-existent one; and, after the first discouraging interview of his messengers 
with Pharaoh, he renewed his promise to them, by the awful name, jehovah a name till 
then unknown, and one which the Jews always held it a fearful profanation to pro- 
nounce." Author. "And god spake unto Moses, and said uiito him, I am the lord: 
and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of god al- 
mighty; but by my name jehovah was I not known to them." See* Exod. vi, 2. 
" Thus saith the lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the lord of hosts ; I am the 
first, and I am the last ; and besides me there is no god." See Isa. xliv, 6. 

" His impious race their blasphemy renew' d, 
And nature's king through nature's optics view'd." Dryden, p. 90. 


"Islamism prescribes fasting during the month ramazan." Balbi's Geoff, p. 17. 

[FORMULE. Not proper, because the word ramazan here begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 
4th, " Proper names, of every description, should always begin with, capitals." Therefore, " Ramazan " 
should begin, with a capital R. The word is also misspelled : it should rather be Ramadan.] 

" Near mecca, in arabia, is jebel nor, or the mountain of light, on the top of which 
the mussulmans erected a mosque, that they might perform their devotions where, ac- 
cording to their belief, mohammed received from the angel gabriel the first chapter of 
the Koran." Author. " In the kaaba at mecca, there is a celebrated block of volcanic 
basalt, which the mohammedans venerate as the gift of gabriel to abraham, but their 
ancestors once held it to be an image of remphan, or saturn ; so the image which fell 
down from jupiter,' to share with diaua the homage of the ephesians, was probably 
nothing more than a meteoric stone." Id. " When the lycaonians, at lystra, took paul 
and barnabas to be gods, they called the former mercury, on account of his eloquence, 
and the latter jupiter, for the greater dignity of his appearance." Id. " Of the writings 
of the apostolic fathers of the first century, but few have come down to us ; yet we 
have in those of barnabas, clement of rome, hernias, ignatius, and polycarp, very certain 
evidence of the authenticity of the New Testament, and the New Testament is a 
voucher for the old." Id. 

" It is said by tatian, that theagenes of rhegium, in the time of cambyses, stesimbrotus 
the thracian, antimachus the cotophonian, herodotus of halicarnassus, dionysius the 
olynthian, ephorus of cuma?, philochorus the athenian, metaclides and chamacleon the 
peripatetics, and zenodotus, aristophanes, callimachus, crates, eratosthenes, aristar- 
chus, and apollodorus, the grammarians, all wrote concerning the poetry, the birth, and 
the age of homer. (See Coleridge 's Introd. p. 57.) Yet, for aught that now appears, 
the life of homer is as fabulous as that of hercules ; and some have even suspected, 
that, as the son of jupiter and alcmena, has fathered the deeds of forty other herculeses, 
so this unfathered son of critheis, themisto, or whatever dame this melesigenes, mse- 

* Where the word " See " accompanies the reference, the reader may generally understand that the cita- 
tion, whether right or wrong iu regard to grammar, is not iu all respect* t-xactiy as it will be found iu the 
place referred to. Oases of this kiud, however, will occur but seldom ; and ic is hoped the reason for ad- 
mitting a few, will be sufficiently obvious. Some rules are so generally known and observed, that one might 
search long for half a dozen examples of their uudesigued violation. \Vherever au error is made intentional ly 
in the Exercises, the true reading and reference are to be expected in the Key. 


onidcs, homer the blind schoolmaster, and poet, of Smyrna, chios, colophon, salamis, 
rhodes argos, athens, or whatever place has, by the help of lycurgus, solori, jiisistra- 
tus, and other learned ancients, been made up of many poets or homers, and set so far 
aloft and aloof on old parnassus, as to become a god in the eyes of all greece, a wonder 
in those of all Christendom." Author. 

" Why so sagacious in your guesses ? 
Your effs, and tees, and arrs, and esses ? " Swift. 


"The king has conferred on him the title of duke." M array's Key, 8vo, p. 193. 

[FORMCLE. Not proper, because the word dukf. begius with a small letter. But, according to Rule 5th. 
; ntlice or honour, and epithets of distinction, applied to persons, begin usually with capitals.'' 
Therefore, " Duke " should here begin with a capital D.J 

" At the court of queen Elizabeth." Murray's Gram. Oct. p. 157 ; DuoJ. p. 12G ; Fisk's, 

i/. " The laws of nature are, truly, what lord Bacon styles his aphorisms, 

law*." Murray's Key, p. 260. " Sixtus the fourth was, if I mistake not, a 

great collector of books." Ib. p. 257. " Who at that time made up the court of king 

Charles the second." Murray's Gram. p. 314. " In case of his majesty's dying without 

issue." Kirkham's Gram. p. 181. "King Charles the first was beheaded i in 1649." 

<;,->/>/i. p. 4->. "He can no more impart or (to use lord Bacon's word,) transmit 

convictions." Kirkham's Eloc. p. 220. " I reside at lord Stonnont's, my old patron and 

Murray's Gram. p. 176. " We staid a month at lord Lyttleton's, the orna- 

ment of his country." Ib. p. 177. " Whose prerogative is it- It is the king of Great 

Britain''-;" "That is the duke of Bridgewater's canal;" "The bishop of LandafFs 

nt book; " "The Lord mayor of London's authority." Ib. p. 176. " Why call 

ye me lord, lord, and do not the things which I say " See GKIESHACH : Luke, vi, 46. 

* And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." SCOTT: Luke, vi, 13. 

i irthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him." See the 

M,iff. xxvi, i:>. " And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto 

them from the dead, they will repent." Luke, xvi, 30. 

" Fall Elver, a village in Massachusetts, population 3431." See Univ. Gaz. p. 416. 

. Not proper, because the name Fall River is here written in two parts, and with two capitals. 
Those compound proper name* which b> analogy incline to a uniou of their 
iinut ;i hjphen. should Lc so written, :u.d have but one capital." Therefore, FaUrivtr, as the name 
of a ton-it, should be oue word, and retain but one capital.] 

" !:-. Anderson died at West Hum. : in 1S08." Bioy. Diet. "Mad Kiver, 

i:ue of] two towns in Ulark and Champaign counties, < >liio." !' ..-icersal 

"White Creek, town of Washington county, N. York." Ib. " Salt Creek, 

:ue of four towm -nt part> of Ohio." ~Lb. " Salt Lick, a town of Fay - 

ette county, IVnnsylvania." Ib. " Yellow Creek, a town of Columbiana county, 

Ohio."//;. " White Clay, a hundred of N iuwaro." Ib. 

. and halfshire of Newcastle county, Delaware." Ib. " Siug-Sing, 

a village 01 county, New York, .-ituatcd in tho town of Mount Pleas- 

ant." Ib. M W< r, a county of New York; also a town in Westchester 

county." / hange county, New York." Ib. " White 

. a town of Hamilton county, Ohio." Ib. " Wluto Water Kiver, a considerable 

in Indiana, and tloui; .lithe Miami in Ohio." 

I',. B'-\ck Water, a village ..f II - Mid a town in Ireland." Ib. 

. Water, the- name of seven dinx-rent river>. in Kr^'and, Ireland, and the United 
States." Vi. "lied llo.k, a town of I)utciu-.-s county, New York, on the Hudson." 

Ib " Kinclcrh .hia conn: >rk, on the Hudson." Ib. 

ity, New York." Ib. "Lake Port, a town of 

Chicot county, Arkan- , the i-hi !' BOUTCe ut the Kcnnc- 

beck, in Ma mty of Illinois, jiopuhition (in 1830) 

Ib. p. 10S. " Me Donough, a county of Illinois, with a courthouse, at Maeomb." Ib. 
p. IS.";. " Half-Moon, M^, in New York and Pennsylvania; also of 
two bays in the V^ ;<eut', a town of Erie county, 
Pennsylvania, near a small lake of the same name." Ib. "Charles City, Jam 
Elizabeth City, names of counties in Virginia, not cities nor t 

ior qualities of the waters of the Frome, here called Stroud water." Balbi's 
Geoy. p. 2 


"The Forth rises on the north side of Benloraond, and runs easterly." Glasg. Geoff. 

[FORMULK Not proper, because the name " B'nlomonr! ' is compounded under one capital, contrary to 
the o-eneral anal > of other similar terms. But, according to Rule 7th, " The compounding of a name uiider 
one c:ipial should be avoided when the general analogy of other similar terms suggests a separation under 
two." Therefore, " Ben Lomond " should be written with two capitals and no hyphen.] 

"The red granite of Bon-ncvis is said to be the finest in the world." Ib. ii, 311. 
"Ben-more, in Perthshire, is 3,915 feet above the level of the sea." Ib. 313. "The 
height of Bencleugh is 2,420 feet." Ib. " In Sutherland and Caithness, are Ben Or- 
mod, Ben Clibeg, Ben Grin, Ben Hope, and Ben Lugal." Ib. 311. " Benvracky is 
2,756 feet high ; Ben-ledi, 3,00!) ; and Ben-voirlich, 3,300." Ib. 313. "The river Do- 
chart gives the name of Glendochart to the vale through which it runs." Ib. 314. 
" About ten miles from its source, the Tay diffuses itself into Lochdochart." Geoy. al- 
tered. LAKES : " Lochard, Loch-Achray, Loch-Con, Loch-Doine, Loch-Katrine, Loch- 
Lomond, Loch-Voil." Scott's Lady of the Lake. GLENS :" Glentinlas, Glen Fruin, 
Glen Luss, Ross-dhu, Leven-glen, Strath-Endrick, Strath-Gartney, Strath-Ire." Ib. 
MOUNTAINS : " Ben-an, Benharrow, Benledi, Ben-Lomond, Benvoirlich, Ben-venue, and 
sometimes Benvenue." Ib. "Fenelon died in 1715, deeply lamented by all the inhab- 
itants of the Low-countries." Murray's Sequel, p. 322. "And Pharaoh-nechoh made 
Eliakim, the son of Josiah, king." SCOTT, FRIENDS: 2 Kings, xxiii, 34. "Those Avho 
seem so merry and well pleased, call her Good Fortune ; but the others, who weep and 
wring their hands, Bad-fortune." Collier's Tablet of Ccbes. 

" When Joab returned, and smote Edom in the valley of salt." SCOTT : Ps. Ix, title. 

[FORMULE. Not proper, because the words valley and salt begin with small letters. But, according to Rule 
8th, " When any adjective or common noun is mule a distinct part of a compound proper name, it ought to 
begin with a capital. Therefore, " Valley " should here begin with a capital V, and " Salt," with a capital S.] 

"Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill and said," &c. SCOTT: Acts, xvii, 22. 
"And at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives." 
Luke, xxi, 37. " Abgillus, son of the king of the Frisii, surnamed Prester John, was 
in the Holy land with Charlemagne." Univ. Biog. Diet. "Cape Palmas, in Africa, 
divides the Grain coast from the Ivory coast." Diet, of Geog. p. 125. " The North. 
Esk, flowing from Loch-lee, falls into the sea three miles north of Montrose." Ib. p. 
232. " At Queen's ferry, the channel of the Forth is contracted by promontories on 
both coasts." Ib. p. 233. "The Chestnut ridge is about twenty-five miles west of the 
Alleghanies, and Laurel ridge, ten miles further west." Balbis Geog. p. 65. " Washing- 
ton City, the metropolis of the United States of America." W.'s Univ. Gaz. p. 380. 
"Washington city, in the District of Columbia, population (in 1830) 18,826." Ib. p. 408. 
"The loftiest peak of the white mountains, in new Hampshire, is called mount Wash- 
ington." Author. "Mount's buy, in the west of England, lies between the land's end 
and lizard point." Id. " Salamis, an island of the Egean Sea, off the southern coast 
of the ancient Attica." Diet, of Geog. " Rhodes, an island of the Egean sea, the largest 
-and most easterly of the Cyclacles." Ib. " But he overthrew Pharaoh and his host in 
the Red sea." BRUCE'S BIBLE : Ps. cxxxvi, 15. "But they provoked him at the sea, 
even at the lied sea." SCOTT : Ps. cvi, 7.* 

" At that time, Herod the Tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus." ALGER : Matt, xiv, 1. 

[FORMULE. Not proper, because the word Trtmrrk begins with a capital letter. But, according to Hule 8th, 
" When a common and a proper name are associated merely to explain each other, it is in general sufficient, 
if the proper name begin wicii a capital, and the appellative, with a small letter." Therefore, " tetrarch " 
ehould here begin wich a small t.] 

" Who has been more detested than Judas the Traitor?" Author. "St. Luke, the 
Evangelist, was a physician of Antioch, and one of the converts of St. Paul." Id. 
" Luther, the Reformer, began his bold career by preaching against papal indul- 
gences." Id. " The Poet Lydgate was a disciple and admirer of Chaucer : he died in 
1440." Id. "The Grammarian Varro, 'the most learned of the Romans,' wrote three 
books when he was eighty years old." Id. "John Despauter, the great Giammarian 
of Flanders, whose works are still valued, died in 1,320." Id. " Nero, the Emperor 
and Tyrant of Rome, slew himself to avoid a worse death." /(/. " Cicero the 
Orator, the Father of his Country,' was assassinated at the age of 64." Id. 

*"Etirritaverunt ascendentcs in mare, Mare rubrum.' Latin Vulgate, folio, Psal. cy. 7- This,I think, 
should have beeu " Mare Rubrum," with two capitals. G. BROWN. 


" Euripides, the Gre< k Tragedian, -\vas horn in the Island of Sal amis, B. 0. 470." Id. 

"I will say unto God my Knck, "Why hast thou forgotten mi- :" SCOTT : /'.v. xlii, 9. 

i Island, an island of New York, nine miles below New York City." l'i, 

i, King of Men, und the noble Achilles first separated." 
Colcrii.'ijt's Introd. ]>. 

"Hermes, his Patron-God, those gifts bestow'd, 
"Whose shrine with weaning lambs he wont to load." POPE : Odys. B. 19. 


"But wisdom is justified of all her children."- SCOTT, ALGEII: Luke, vii, 3o. 

[FORMI:LK. Not proper, because the word trinloni br^ii s \\itli a small letter. I'.ut. according to Kule 10th, 
DM of an oljict pcrsoi.ilied, win i n i>lt-a sirictls individual, s-huuld begin with a capital." 

Theiefoiv. u Wi.-d<'in " hln.nid lien- bc.uiu with a capital \V .] 

:une and the church are generally put in the feminine gender." Murray's 
:, ]). 37. "Go to your natural religion; lay before her Mahomet, and his dis- 
Jl/trtt.ric, p. \.~j~ : See also Murray's dram, i, 347. "O death! 
where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory:" 1 Cor, xv, 55; Murray's 
Cram. p. 348 ; Litulish Rmdi-r, 31 ; Men-hunt's (iram. 212. "Ye cannot serve God and 
Mammon." SCOTT, I'KII.NKS, J.T AI. : Matt, vi, 21. "Ye cannot serve God and 
mammon." IIJM-:M : Lnh- xvi, 13. "This house was built as if suspicion herself had 
I the plan." See Key. "Poetry distinguishes herself from prose, by yielding 
to a musical law." E "My beauteous deliverer thus uttered her divine in- 

structions : My name is religion. 1 am the offspring of truth and love, and the parent 
of benevolence, hope, and joy. That monster, from whose power I have freed you, is 
called su])orstition : she is the child of discontent, and her followers are fear and sor- 
Neither hope nor fear could enter the retreats; and .habit had so 
D eonx'ienee, if religion had employed her in their favour, 
would not have been able to force an entrance." See J\i-y. 

In colleges and halls in ancient days. 

There dwelt a sage called discipline." }YaylancCs M. Sci. p. 368. 

l^nglish, I would have gallicisms avoided." FKI.TOX : Johnson's Diet. 

I here begins \\irh a small letfrr. But, according to 

Rul>- Hrh, * Words dcriv.-.l from ]>rp.-r intnifs, and having 'lin-cr n-lcKMicc to particular pt-ixms, places, 
uld Ix'tin with capitals.' 7 Therefore, " t.aliiciMns " should begin with a capital <;.J 

Mst was born in Ita; v before the Christian era.'' Murray's ,v 

A us not only a great man, but one of the most excellent and useful 

Christians, and Christian ministers." lit. .'519. "They corrupt their style with un- 

tutorc . is." : in Johnxtm's Dirt. "Albert of Stadc, author of a 

chronic!'' from the creation to US' 1 , a benedictine of the 13th century." I'ninrsnl 

"<ha'Vi", a it-suit of (';i]iu:i in tlic Kith century, author of two volumes 

on moral subjects." Ih. "They trenchit'y and italiani/e words whenever th_y can." 

. " lie who xdls a Christian, sel s the urai-e of dod." Anti-^lar-fry M,i'!.\\. 11. 

nst the Christians, under Nero, It-'uan A. I ). i>4." (n; </<>r>/s 

:, i, t!u> jc-nit, uniformly decides in favour of the Koman writer^." 

The Koman poet and epicurean philosopher Lm-rctius has 

il c-alvini-tic, atticism, gothicunn, opicurism, je- 

suitisin, sabiani^m, sm inianisin, angli'-an, anglit i>m, an^lr-i/.f, vandalism, gallicism, 
roman. ,, 130-133. " The large ternate bat." \Vtbsler'* 

" Ckurch-ladden are not always mounted best 
By learned clerks, and latinists pruless'd." ( ' 

I'M.KU lln.K XII. OF I AND 0. 

" Fall back, fall back ; i have not room : o ! methinks i see a couple whom i should 
know." Lin-i,. 

[Four; ' : 1 /. whirh occur-; flin-o tiin<--. and th<> word O, wliich n.-cnrs onop, 

, tie ..ri, / and O should 

- i did, i think as i did, i love you as i did; but all these are to no 
id will not live, think, or love, as i d ,." " Whither, 

i rhc manner in wh ],,.,. <-all the sniail 

etue icttri*,'' or " itttt/s ,ij : 


! whither shall i fly ? o wretched prince ! o cruel reverse of fortune ! o father Micipsa ! 
is this the consequence of thy generosity ?" Sallust, varied. " When i was a child, 

1 spake as a child, i understood as a child", i thought as a child ; but when i became a 
man, i put away childish things." 1 Cor. xiii, 11 : varied. " And i heard, but i under- 
stood not : then said i, o my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ? " Dan. xii, 
8 : varied. " Here am i ; i think i am very good, and i am quite sure i am very happy, 
yet i never wrote a treatise in my life."' Few Days in Athens, varied. " Singular, 
Vocative, o master; Plural, Vocative, o masters." Bicknett's Gram. p. 30. 

" I, i am he ; o father ! rise, behold 
Thy son, with twenty winters now grown old ! " See Pope's Odyssey. 


" Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, 
lie in three words health, peace, and competence ; 
but health consists with temperance alone, 
arid peace, O virtue ! peace is all thy own." 

Pope's Essay on Man, a fine London Edition. 

[FORMULE. Not proper, because the last three lines of this example hegin with small letters. But, accord- 
ing to Rule 13th, " Every line in poetry, except what is regarded as making but one verse with the preceding 
line, should begin with a capital." Therefore, the words, " Lie," "But," and " And," at the commencement 
of these lines, should severally begin with the capitals L, B, and A.] 

" Observe the language well in all you write, 
and swerve not from it in your loftiest flight. 
The smoothest verse and the exactest sense 
displease us, if ill English give offence : 
a barbarous phrase no reader can approve ; 
nor bombast, noise, or affectation love. 
In short, without pure language, what you write 
can never yield us profit or delight. 
Take time for thinking, never work in haste ; 
and value not yourself for writing fast." 

SeeDryden's Art of Poetry : British Poets, Vol. iii, p. 74. 


"The word rather is very properly used to express a small degree or excess of a 
quality : as, ' she is rather profuse in her expenses.' " Murray's Gram. p. 47. 

[FORMULE. Not proper, because the word she begins with a small letter. But, according to Rule 14th, 
" The first word of a full example, of a distinct speech, or of a direct quotation, should begin with a capital." 
Therefore, the word " She " should here begin with a capital S.] 

" Neither imports not either ; that is, not one nor the other : as, ' neither of my friends 
was there. '" Murray's Gram. p. 56. "When we say, 'he is a tall man,' 'this is a 
fair day,' we make some reference to the ordinary size of men, and to different 
weather." Ib. p. 47. "We more readily say, ' A million of men,' than ' a thousand 
of men.' " Ib. p. 169. " So in the instances, ' two and two are four ; ' ' the fifth and 
sixth volumes will complete the set of books.'" Ib. p. 124. "The adjective may 
freqiiently either precede or follow it [the verb] : as, ' the man is happy ; ' or, ' happy is 
the man :' 'The interview was delightful;' or, ' delif/hfful was the interview.' " Ib. p. 
168. "If we say, 'he writes a pen,' 'they ran the river,' ' the tower fell the Greeks,' 
' Lambeth is Westminster-abbey,' [we speak absurdly ;] and, it is evident, there is a 
vacancy which must be filled up by some connecting word : as thus, ' He writes with a 
pen ; ' they ran towards the river ; ' ' the tower fell icpon the Greeks ; ' ' Lambeth is 
over against Westminster-abbey.'" Ib. p. 118. "Let me repeat it; he only is 
great, who has the habits of greatness." Murray's Key, 241. "I say not unto thee, 
until seven times ; but, until seventy times seven." See Matt, xviii, 22. 

"The Panther smil'd at this ; and when, said she, 
Were those first councils disallow'd by me ? " Dryden, p. 95. 


" The supreme council of the nation is called the divan." Balbi's Geog. p. 360. 
[FORMULE. Not proper, because the word riii-n.n begins with a small letter. But, according to Hule 15th, 
"Other words of particular importance, and such as denote the principal subjects treated of, may be distin- by capitals." Therefore, " Divan " should here begiu with a capital D.J 

"The British parliament is composed of king, lords, and commons." Murray's Key, 
p. 184. " A popular orator in the House of Commons has a sort of patent for coining 
as many new terms as he pleases." See Campbell's llhet. p. 169 ; Murray's Gram. 364. 


The house of lords ; ' and, in stead of ' The commons' vote,' to say, ' The votes of the 
commons.' " See ih. p. 177, 4th Ann-r. I'd. also 1'n t. p. 69. "The house 

of lords were so much influenced by these reasons." Murra ;/'.<> drum. Svo, p. !.?_': 

'. ^3. " Rhetoricians commonly divide them into two great < _ ures of 

words, and figures of thought. The former, figures of words, are commonly called 

I'Ju-t. p. 132. " Perhaps figures of imagination, and figures of passion, 

might be a more useful distribution." 76. p. 133. "Hitherto we have considered 

sentences, under the heads of perspicuity, unity, and strength." Ib. p. 120. 

" The word is then depos'd, and in this view, 
You rule the scripture, not the scripture you." Dryden, p. 95. 


" Be of good cheer : It is I ; be not afraid." ALGER : Matt, xiv, 27. 

I.E. Not proper, because the word It begins with a capital /, for which their appears to be neither 
r D. But, according to Rule 16th, "Capitals are improper whi-n-vi-r then* is i.ot some f-pecial 

rule or reason for their use." Therefore, ' it' should here begin with a small letter, as Dr. Scott has it.] 

" Between passion and lying, there is not a Finger's breadth." Murray's Key, p. 240. 
' Can our Solicitude alter the course, or unravel the intricacy, of human events ? " Ib. 
p. 242. " The last edition was carefully compared with the Original M. S." Ib. p. 239. 
And the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews ? " ALGER : 
Matt, xxvii.'ll. "Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame, that say, 
Aha, Aha!" FKIEXDS' BH-.I.K : I'*. Ixx. 3. "Let them be desolate for a reward of 
-lame, that say unto me, Aha, aha!" IB.: Ps. xl, 15. " What think ye of 
:> is he : They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, 
IIo\v then doth David in Spirit call him Lord : " SCOTT : Matt, xxii, 42, 43. " Among 
all Things in the Universe, direct your Worship to the Greatest : And which is that ? 
T is that Being which Manages and Governs all the Rest." Meditations of M. AurcHus 
Antnm - \- i'..r Mmlesty and Good Faith, Truth and Justice, they have left 

thi> wi<-krd World and retired to Heaven: And now what is it that can keep you 
here:" Ib. p. 81. 

44 If Pulse of Verse, a Nation's Temper shows, 
In keen Iambics English Metre flows." Brightiand's Gram. p. 151. 


ae, gentle spring, Ethereal mildness, come." Gardiner's Music of Nature, p. 411. 

_ Ix-L'ins vithasmall letter. But, according to Rul 

tli. 'II. v nni- <if ai . \vht-n itconve>8 an i<k-a strictly individual, should begin with a 

.in vitli H Y;<i>irl *. 

fr which there appears to be nei- 

ther ru!< iiii|,ro|n.T whcnewr thi-re is not some 

-houlil here lM-gin with a .-mall letter.] 

uling the lives of the Twelve Ca'sars." 

'. " In th< : Henry the fourth, by father Daniel, we axe 

7 at not finding him . m." /V -/. \i. \~>l. " In the history 

ry the fourth, by Father Daniel, we are surprised at not finding him the great 
man." Murray' 9 Gram. p. i .'.)'.. "Do not those san. 

and the Wedge, and many other instruments ? "M<trr,ni, 288 ; 

from / .client lor the gauging of Liquors ; Geometry, 

: A-tronomy, lor the maki. uaeks; and Grammar, 

perhaps, tor the drawl:. //,r/m.v, p. J '.'"). "The 

: Flanders, \\\. '. . ada, is a book of some note." 

lUair's /.'//</. p. : ", [* a noun. why? v.-rb. why: is an 

article why rb. why?" &<-. ', ^ hnnl (Irani, p. 20. " In the 

as that word." 

n Urn m. numeroii-s in the-saly, niai'edoniti, 

1 albaiiiu." /- -tyled by the Turks, Sultan (Mighty) 

.^hah (lord)." Dalbi . .".00. "I %ull rans'om them from the power of 


the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues;* O 
grave, I will be thy destruction." SCOTT, ALCJKU, KT AL. : Mown, xiii, 14. "Silver and 
Gold have I none; but such as I have, give I unto thee." Murray's Gram, Svo, p. 321. 
" Return, we beseech thee, O God of Hosts, look down from heaven, and behold, 
and visit this vine." Ib. p. 342. " In the Attic Commonwealth, it was the privilege 
of- every citizen to rail in public." Ib. p. 316. "They assert that, in the phrases, 
'give me that,' ' this is John's,' and ' such were some of you,' the words in italics are 
pronouns: but that, in the following phrases, they are not pronouns; 'this book is 
instructive,' ' some boys are ingenious,' my health is declining,' 'our hearts are deceit- 
ful,' c." Ib. p. 58. " And the coast bends again to the northwest; as far as Far Out 
head." Glasgow Geoff. Vol. ii, p. 308. Dr. Webster, and other makers of spelling- 
books, very improperly write " Sunday, monday, tuesday, Wednesday, thursday, friday, 
Saturday," without capitals. See Webster's Elementary {Spelling- Book, p. 85. "The com- 
mander in chief of the Turkish navy is styled the capitan-pasha." Balbi's Geog. p. 360. 
" Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live? " 
SCOTT'S BIBLE : Heb. xii, 9. " Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the 
Father of Spirits, and live?" FKIEKDS' BIBLE : Heb. xii, 9. "He was more anxious to 
attain the character of a Christian hero." Murray's Sequel, p. 308. " Beautiful for sit- 
uation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion." Psalms, xlviii, 2. "The Lord is 
my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." SCOTT : Heb. xiii, 6. 
"Make haste to help me, O LOUD my Salvation." SCOTT : Ps. xxxviii, 22. 

"The City, which Thou seest, no other deem 
Than great and glorious Rome, Queen of the Earth." 

Harris's Hermes, p. 49. 


"That range of hills, known under the general name of mount Jura." Priestley's 
Gram. p. 170. "He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up." SCOTT : Ps. cvi, 
9. " Jesus went unto the mount of Olives." John, viii, 1. " Milton's book, in reply to 
the Defence of the king, by Sahnasius, gained him a thousand pounds from the pailia- 
ment, and killed his antagonist with vexation." See Murray's Sequel, 343. "Mande- 
ville, sir John, an Englishman, famous for his travels, born about 1300, died in 1372."- 
Biog. Diet. "Ettrick pen, a mountain in Selkirkshire, Scotland, height 2,200 feet." 
Glasgow Geog. ii, p. 312. "The coast bends from Dungsby-head in a northwest direc- 
tion to the promontory of Dunnet head." Ib. p. 307. " Gen. Gaines ordered a detach- 
ment of near 300 men, under the command of Major Twiggs, to surround and take an 
Indian Tillage, called Fowl Town, about fouiteen miles from fort Scott." (Johen's 
Florida, p. 41. " And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha 
Cumi." ALGER : Mark, v, 4. " On religious subjects, a frequent recurrence of script- 
ure-language is attended with peculiar force." Murray's Gram. p. 318. " Contem- 
plated with gratitude to their Author, the Giver of all Good." Ib. p. 289. "When he, 
the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." Ib. p. 171 ; Fisk, 98 ; 
Ingersoll, 186. " See the lecture on verbs, rule XV. note 4." Fisk's E. Gram. p. 117. 
" At the commencement of lecture II. I informed you that Etymology treats, 3dly, of 
derivation." Kirk-ham's Gram. p. 171. "This VIII. lecture is a very important one." 
Ib. p. 113. "Now read the XL and XII. lectures/bw or Jive times over." Ib. p. 152. 
" In 1752, he was advanced to the bench, under the title of lord Kames." Murray's Se- 
quel, p. 331. "One of his maxims was, ' know thyself.' " Lempriere's Diet. n. Chilo. 
" Good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life ?" See Matt. 
xix, 16. "His best known works, however, are 'anecdotes of the earl of Chatham,' 2 
vols. 4to., 3 vols. 8vo., and 'biographical, literary, and political anecdotes of several of 
the most eminent persons of the present age; never before printed,' 3 vols. Svo. 1797." 
Univ. Biog. Diet. n. Almon. "O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I 
frighted thee?" Merchant's School Gram. p. 172. "O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's 
soft nurse," &c. SINGKU'S SHAK. Sec. Part of Hen. IV, Act. iii. "Sleep, gentle sleep, 
Nature's soft nurse," &c. Dodd's Beauties of Shakspeare, p. 129. 

" And Peace, O, Virtue ! Peace is all thy own." Pope's Works, p. 379. 
" And peace, O virtue ! peace is all thy own." Murray's Gram, ii, 16. 


" Fenelon united the characters of a nobleman and a Christian pastor. His book 
entitled ' An explication of the Maxims of the Saints concerning the interior lii'e,' gave 

*I imagine that " plagues " should here be plague, in the singular number, and not plural. " Ero mors 
tua, 6 mors: niorsus tuns ero, iuferne." Vulgate. " flou y finer) aav, Qdvare ; nov TO Kfi-rpav cov, cufy;" 
Septuagint, ibid. 


"able offence to the guardians of orthodoxy." Murray's Sequel, p. 321. "When 
natural reliu r i'>'i, wh<> -vcctator, is int- ! speaking by the 

contu . ]>. l-")7. "You cannot deny, that the great mover 

and author of na" ;;tly explaineth himself to the eyes of men, by the - 

' ich have no similitude, or connexion, -with the things 

1." lit-r!- r. p. 1^9. "The name of this letter is double 

1", its form, that of a double V." U7/w//'.v F.sxay on dram, p. 19. " Murray, in his 

spelling book, wrote ' Charles-Town ' with a Hyphen and two Capital-." See p. 101. 

" He also wrote enropean ' without a capital." See p. 86. " They profess themselves 

be heard and not imitated." <' . p. 55. 

" 1 >r. Webster wrote- both ' Xewhaven ' and ' Xewyork ' with single capita' 

. p. 111. " Gayhead, the west point of Martha's Vineyard." 

' "Write " Craborchard, Eggh arbor, Longisland, Perthamboy, 

Westhampton, Littfeoompton, Xewpaltz, Crownpoint, Fellspoint, Sandyhook, Portpenn, 

Portroyal, Portobello, and Portorico." U'cbafn-'n Anu-ri^m Spelling-Book, 127-140. 

the names of the months : "janxiary, february, march, april, may, June, July, 

September, October, novcmber, december." Cobb's Standard Sj>d Una- Book, 

21-10. AVrite the following names and words properly: " tuesday, Wednesday, 

thursday, friday. Saturday, saturn ; christ, Christian, Christmas, Christendom, michael- 

mas. indian, bacchanals ; Ivisthampton, omega, Johannes, aonian, levitical, deutero- 

nomy, enropean." Cobb's Standard SpMing-Bwk, sundry places. 

" Kight Letters in some Syllables we find, 
And no more Syllables in Words are joined." 

Uriyhtlantts Gram. p. 61. 


A Syllable is one or more letters pronounced in one sound ; and is 
either a word, or a ]>art of a word: as, a, an, ant. 

In every word there arc as many syllables as there are distinct sounds ; 


A word of one sylluMe is called a monosyllable; or word of two 
syllaM' /'//''. ; a word of three syllables, a trissyllable ; and a 

.-d f f.)ur or more syllables, a pol>/ syllable. 

. may form a syllable of itself ; but the consonants 

belong to the vowels or diphthongs ; and without a vowel no syllable can 
be formed. 


A lijj l tltny is t v. g joined in one syllable ; as, ea in beat, ou in 


a diphthong in which both the vowels are sounded ; 

An ' a di'ph thong in which only one of the vowels 

; as. vn in / 
A tr>'j./tt; :io<l in one syllable ; as, eau in beau, lew 

A i r . '^ a triphthong in which all the vowels are sounded ; 

iu /"toy. 

a triphthong in which only one or two of the 

. ,,is. 

di[ hilion-x i.i lv ity-uine ; embracing all but six of the 

e possible t .ns of two vowels : aa, ae, ai, ao, an, aw. 


ay, ea, ee, ei, eo, eu, ew, ey, ia, ie, (w,) io, (iu, iw 9 iyj) oa 9 oe, oi, 
oo, ou, ow, oy, ua 9 ue, ui, uo, (uu, uw,) uy. 

Ten of these diphthongs, being variously sounded, may be either proper 
or improper ; to wit, ay, ie 9 oi, ou, ow, ua, ue 9 ui, uo, uy. 

The proper diphthongs appear to be thirteen ; ay 9 ia, ie, io, oi, ou 7 
ow, oy, ua, ue, ui, uo, uy : of which combinations, only three, ia 9 io., 
and oy 9 are invariably of this class. 

The improper diphthongs are twenty-six ; aa, ae 9 ai, ao 9 au 9 aw, ay, 
ea, ee, d, eo, eu, ew, ey, ie, oa, oe, oi, oo, ou, ow, ua, ue, ui, uo, uy. 

The only proper triphthong in English is uoy, as in buoy, buoyant, 
"buoyancy ; unless uoi in quoit may be considered a parallel instance. 

The improper triphthongs are sixteen ; awe, aye, eau, eou, ewe, eye, ieu, 
lew, iou y oeu, owe, uai, uaw, uay, uea, uee. 


In dividing words into syllables, we are chiefly to be directed by the 
ear ; it may however be proper to observe, as far as practicable, the 
following rules. 


Consonants should generally be joined to the vowels or diphthongs which they 
modify in utterance ; as, An-ax-aa'-o-ras, ap-os-tol'-i-cal. 


Two vowels, coming together, if they make not a diphthong, must be parted IE 
dividing the syllables; as, A-cha'-i-a, A-o'-ni-an, a-e'-ri-al. 


Derivative and grammatical terminations should generally be separated from the 
radical words to which they have been added; as, harm-less, great-ly, connect-ed: 
thus count-er and coun-ter are different words. 


Prefixes in general form separate syllables ; as, mis-place, out-ride, up-lift: but 
if their own primitive meaning be disregarded, it may be otherwise ; thus, re-create, 
and rec'-reate, re-formation, and ref-ormation, are words of different import. 


Compounds, when divided, should be divided into the simple words which 
compose them; as, boat-swain, foot-hold, never-the-less. 


At the end of a line, a word may be divided, if necessary ; but a syllable must 
never be broken. 


OBS. 1. The doctrine of English syllabication is attended with some difficulties; be- 
cause its purposes are various, and its principles, often contradictory. The old rules, 
borrowed chiefly from grammars of other languages, and still retained in some of our 
own, are liable to very strong objections.* By aiming to divide on the vowels, and to 

*" The usual rules for dividing [words into] syllables, are not only arbitrary but false and absurd. They 
contradict the very definition of a syllable given b y the authors themselves. *'* * * A syllable in pronunci- 
ation Is an indivisible thing; and strange its it may appear, what is indivisible in utterance, is divided in 
writing: when the very purpose of divi.ling words Into syllables in writing, is to lead the learner to a just 
pronunciation." Webster's Improved Gram. p. 156; Philosophical Gram. 221. 


force the consonants, as much as possible, into the beginning of syllables, they often 
pervert or misrepresent our pronunciation. Thus Murray, in his Spelling-Book, has 
a, bro-tht-r, bo-dy, iri-dntr, j>n'-xot<, a-m-ricc, c-cc-ri/, (j-rtin-tii-.s, 
-i/i-cine, re-pre-sent, re-so-lu-tion," and a multitude of other words, divided 
upon a principle by which the young learner can scarcely fail to be led into error re- 
specting their sounds. This method of division is therefore particularly reprehensible 
in such books as are designed to teach the true pronunciation of words ; for which 
reason, it has been generally abandoned in our modern spelling-books and dictionaries : 
the authors of which have severally aimed at some sort of compromise between etymol- 
l pronunciation ; but they disagree so much, as to the manner of effecting it, 
that no two of them will be found alike, and very few, if any, entirely consistent with 

_'. The object of syllabication may be any one of the following four: 1. To 
enable a child to read unfamiliar words by spelling them ; 2. To show the derivation or 
composition of words ; 3. To exhibit the exact pronunciation of words ; 4. To divide 
words properly, when it is necessary to break them at the ends of lines. "With respect 
to the first of these objects, Walker* observes, " When a child has made certain advances 
in rc-ulinir, but is ignorant of the sound of many of the longer words, it may not be 
improper to lay down the common general rule to him, that a consonant between two 
vowels must go to the latter, and that two consonants coming together must be divided. 
1 t/ian f/ii,s it would be absurd to go with a child." Walker s Principles, No. 539. Yet, 

as a caution be it recorded, that, in 1833, an itinerant lecturer from the South, who 
made it his business to teach what he calls in his title-page, "An Abridgment of Walk- 
er's Kulcs on the Sounds of the Letters," an Abridgement, which, he says in his preface, 
" will be found to contain, it is believed, all the important rules that are established by. 
Walker, and to carry his prinei; r than he himself has done " befooled the 

' to, the School Committee and Common Council of Boston, 

of elocution at Harvard University, and many other equally wise men of 
it, into the notion that English pronunciation could be conveniently taught to 
children, in "four or five days," by means of some three or four hundred rules of which, 
the folio \\ -ing is a specimen : " RULE 282. When a single consonant is preceded by a 
owcl under the preantepenultimate accent, and is followed by a vowel that is suc- 
M;mt, it belongs to the accented vowel." Mulkey's Abridgement of 
*, p. 34. 

.A grosser specimen of literary quackery, than is the publication which I 
-t quoted, can scarcely be found in the world of letters. It censures "the prin- 
id down and illustrated by Walker," as "so elaborate and so verbose as to be 
ae to the scholar and useless to the child; " and yet declares them to be, "for 
ic most part, the true rules of pronunciation, according to the analogy of the lan- 
-Mulkei/'s Preface, p. 3. It professes to be an abridgement and "simplification 
principles, especially adapted to the wants and capacities of children; and, at 


the v -t eharactcr. It is to be observed that the author teaches nothing 

reading; nothing but the sounds of letters and syllables ; nothing 
simple fractions of the great science of grammar: and, for this purpose, he 
mluct the learner through the following particulars, and have him remember 
all : }; I Cation and organic, formation of 

l ( 't' fr "the sounds of the vowels, according to their 

Ml of "the different sounds of the diph- 
r"the sounds of the consonants, according to posi- 

* ; ''n." hundred and fifty-six principles of accent. 

r dividing words into syllables." 7. Thirty-three " additional 
her promiscuoiuly, b.-.-ausi ho could not class them. 

.//r.vof irri-gu:. forming particular exceptions to the foregoing 

. Twenty-eight . \tnu-ti-d from Walker's Dictionary, and very 

itily called "Tl. - of Walker." All this is Walker simplified for children ! 

L Sueh is a brief sketch of Mulke\ of orthoepy; a work in 

which "lie claims to have device I what has heretofore be. : ///)< a mode by 

irh children in our common schools may be taught ///,.- rub* for the pronunciation o*f 
eir mother tongue." , -1. The faults of the book are so exceedingly nu- 

1-ous. that to point them out, would be more toil, than to write a volume of twice the 
1 is it possible, that a system like this could find patronage in the metropolis 
Kiuland, in that proud centre of arts and - :ul in the proudot halls of 

learnini; and of legislation: Examine the gentlen. v.tials, and take your 

choice between the adoption of his plan, as a great improvement in the management of 



syllables, and the certain conclusion that great men may be greatly duped respecting 
them. Unless the public has been imposed upon by a worse fraud than mere literary 
quackery, the authorities I have mentioned did extensively patronize the scheme ; and 
the Common Council of that learned city did order, November 14th, 1833, "That the 
School Committee be and they are hereby authorized to employ Mr. William Mulkey 
to give a course of Lectures on Orthoepy to the seceraliitstructers of the public schools, 
and that the sum of live hundred dollars is hereby appropriated for that purpose, and 
that the same amount be withdrawn from the reserved fund." See Mulkey' s Circular. 

OBS. 5. Pronunciation is best taught to children by means of a good spelling-book ; a 
book in which the words are arranged according to their analogies, and divided according 
to their proper sounds. Vocabularies, dictionaries, and glossaries, may also be serviceable 
to those who are sufficiently advanced to learn how to use them. *With regard to the 
first of the abovenamcd purposes of syllabication, I am almost ready to dissent even 
from the modest opinion of Walker himself; for ignorance can only guess at the pro- 
nunciation of words, till positive instruction conies in to give assurance ; and it may 
be doubted whether even the simple rule or rules suggested by Walker would not about 
as often mislead the young reader as correct him. With regard to the second purpose, 
that of showing the derivation or composition of words, it is plain, that etymology, 
and not pronunciation, must here govern the division ; and that it should go no further 
than to separate the constituent parts of each word; as, ort/to-graphy, theo-logy. But 
when we divide for the third purpose, and intend to show what is the pronunciation 
of a word, we must, if possible, divide into such syllabic sounds as will exactly recom- 
pose the word, when put together again ; as, or-thog-ra-phy, the-ol-o-gy. This being 
the most common purpose of syllabication, perhaps it would be well to give it a gen- 
eral preference ; and adopt it whenever we can, not only in the composing of spelling- 
books and dictionaries, but also in the dividing of words at the ends of lines. 

OBS. 6. Dr. Lowth says, " The best and easiest rule, for dividing the syllables in 
spelling, is, to divide them as they are naturally divided in a right pronunciation ; with- 
out regard to the derivation of words, or the possible combination of consonants at the 
beginning of a syllable." Lowth' s Gram. p. 5. And Walker approves of the principle, 
with respect to the third purpose mentioned above : "This," says that celebrated ortho- 
epist, "is the method adopted by those who would convey the whole sound, by giving 
distinctly every part ; and, when this is the object of syllabication, Dr. Lowth's rn.le is 
certainly to be followed." Walker's Principles, No. 541. But this rule, which no one 
can apply till he has found out the pronunciation, will not always be practicable where 
that is known, and perhaps not always expedient where it is practicable. For example : 
the words colonel, venison, transition, propitious, cannot be so divided as to exhibit their 
pronunciation; and, in such as acid, magic, pacify, legible, liquidate, it may not be best tc 
follow the rule, because there is some reasonable objection to terminating the first sylla- 
bles of these words with c, g, and q, especially at the end of a line. The rule for termi- 
nations may also interfere with this, called " Lowth's ; " as in sizable, rising, dranith. 

OBS. 7. For the dividing of words into syllables, I have given six rules, which are 
perhaps as many as will be useful. They are to be understood as general principles ; 
and, as to the exceptions to be made in their application, or the settling of their con- 
flicting claims to attention, these may be left to tho judgement of each writer. The old 
principle of dividing by the eye, and not by the ear, I have rejected ; and, with it x all 
but one of the five rules which the old grammarians gave for the purpose. " The divis- 
ions of the letters into syllables, should, unquestionably, be the same in written, as in 
spoken language ; otherwise the learner is misguided, and seduced by false re; 
tations into injurious errors." Wilson s Essay on Gram. p. 37. Through the influence 
of books in which the words are divided according to their sounds, the pronunciation of 
the language is daily becoming more and more uniform ; and it may perhaps be reason- 
ably hoped, that the general adoption of this method of syllabication, and a proper ex- 
position of the occasional errors of ignorance, will one day obviate entirely the objection 
arising from the instability of the principle. For the old grammarians urged, that the 
scholar who had learned their rules should " strictly conform to them ; and that he 
should industriously avoid that random Mvikid f dividing by the Ear, which is subject to 
mere jumble, as it must be continually fluctuating according to the various Dialects of 
different Counties." Britis/i Grammar, p. 47. 

OBS. 8. Trie important exercise of oral spelling is often very absurdly conducted. 
In many of our schools, it may be observed that the teacher, in giving out the words to 
be spelled, is not always careful to utter them with what he knows to be their true 
sounds, but frequently accommodates his pronunciation to the known or supposed igno- 
rance of the scholar; and the latter is still more frequently allowed to huiry through 
the process, without putting the .syllables together as he proceeds; and, sometimes, 
without forming or distinguishing the syllables at all. Merely to pronounce a' word 
and then name its letters, is an exceedingly imperfect mode of spelling ; a mode in 

CHAP, ii.] ORTiioon APIIY. SVLLMSLI-:?. KKHORS. 173 

far more is lo^t in respect to accuracy of speech, than is u r .ii"-''d in respect to time. 
!(' not only bo distinctly formed an 1 pr<niou'iced. but pronounced as 
; d in the whole word; and oa<di should ') Mod to the pre- 

ihlos, till the whole sound is formed mion of all its part-. For 

>.r -hould say. " Dee I. d" ; Veo I Ivs, vi/. do-vi/ ; I, 
'.11, bil. do-vi/-o-bil ; I. de-vi/-e-h : ]-e ; '!'< \\'y. t , l"-vi/-o-bil-e-te." 
Again : . < Aitch I. *he; (> A. ka. *he-ka : En E Ar. nur. she-ka-nur; 

-ka-mir-' : advantages of oral >]>'.! 'ing, i> its tendency to 

i : and thi> end it will reach, in proportion, to the care 

and >ki'l with whi<-h it is conducted, lint oral snelliu-j; should not ho r-'lied on as the 

sole m -hinu r orthography. It will not be found sufficient. The method of 

.vords for ]irfictic;d spelling on slates or paper, or of reading something which 

,-ain by the learner, is much to be commended, as a means of exer- 

ci<ini: those scholars who are so far advanced as to write legibly. TliLs is called, in the 




1. Correct the division of the following words of two syllables: " ci-vil, co-lour, 

tea-ther, ga-ther, hca-ven, hca-vy, ho-ney, le-mon, 

li-nen, mca-dow. mo-; . o-live, o-rango, o-ther, ])hoa-sant. ])lea-sant, j)U-nish, 

-:o-mach, ti-mid, whi-ther." Murray's 
\. V. LSI!). 

. fho / in m-'ni/r. tho p in rn-p>/, ^-c., are written with the fol- 
Hir. afc.-.' - ' nan t a should 

.vcN or di|> iflionx-i which they modify in utterance." Therefore, these words 
'-our, cop-y, &c.] 

the division of the following words of three syllables: "be-ne-fit, 
bi-iut. ca-nis-tor, ca-ta-logue. cha-rac-ter, cha-ri-ty, co-vet-ous, di-li-gence, di-mi- 
ihant, e-vi- r-grecn, fri-vo-lous, ga-ther-ing, ge-ne-rous, go-vem-ess, 

-ty, ka-len-dar, la-ven-dor, lo-ve-ret, li-be-rai, me-mo-ry, mi-nis-ter, 
iy, no-vel-ty, no-bo-dy. pa ra-dise, ]>o-ver-ty, pre-si-nt-ly, pro-vi-dence, 
r-ly, ]>ri-son-er, ra-v<>n-ou>, sa-tis-fy, se-ve-ral. so-]ia-ratc, tra-vel-ler, va-ga- 
; e-m-si-der, con-ti-nuo, do-H-vor, dis-co-ver, dis-ii-gnre, dis-ho-ne>r, dis-tri- 
-)ia-bit. mo-clui-nic, what-e-ver ; re-com-mend, re-fu-gee, rc-pri-mand." 

the division of the following words of four syllables : " ca-ter-pil-lar, 
cha-ri-ta-blo. di-li-gent-ly, mi-so-ra-ble. ])r.)-Ht-a-ble, to-le-ra-l)le ; be-ne-vo-lent, con- 
i-mi-nn-tive, ox-DO-ri-meiit. ex-tra-va-gant, in-ha-bi-tant, no-bi-li-ty, par- 
-cn-lar, ])ros-pf-ri-ty, ri-di-cu-l'u<, siu-co-ri-ty ; (lo-mon-stra-tion, e-du-ca-tion, 
e-mii-la-tioTi. . ma-nn-fac-ture, me-mo-ran-dum, mo-de-ra-tor, 

.-ten-tial, ro->ig-na-tion, ion, se-mi i CO-lon." Murray : ib. 

p. 84- 

1 -rrcct the >f the following wor'l -yllahles: " a-bo-mi-na-ble, 

w . . ; 

roper names: " Ke-lon, Leo-nard, Phi-lip, 
-rah, Do-ro-thy, 

. Ly-di-si, Xi-cho-Ia-. ::ui-el, Si-me-on, 

So-lo-mon, Ti-m n, l^ar-tho-lo-mew, E-li-xa-bf 

tha-ni-el, IN -ne-lo-pe, Thf-o-phi-lu*." .V -101. 


1. Correct the division of cap-rice, cs-teem, dis- 

. mat-ron, !, trait-or, tu-noli-er, 

rb-cr, bnrn-ish. garu-i-li. tarn-i^h, varn-ish, mark-ct, musk-et, j-amjili-let ; })r . 
ave-r; 'le-ry, hri lii-canc-ry, ina-diine-ry, 

-lum, hor-i-/,on, fi-n-ui-cier, ho-ro-i ir-ril-ous, 

com-e-di-an, post-e-ri-or." tj-B)oks. 


2. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 2d : " oy-er, fol-io, gen-ial, 
gen-ius, jun-ior, sa-tiate, vi-tiate ; am-bro-sia, cha-mcl-ion, par-hel-ion, con-ven-ient, 
in-gen-ious, om-nis-cience, pe-cul-iar, so-cia-ble, par-tial-i-ty, pe-cun-ia-ry ; an-nun- 
ciate, e-nun-ciate, ap-pre-ciate, as-so-ciate, ex-pa-tiate, in-gra-tiate, in-i-tiate, li-cen- 
tiate, ne-go-tiate, no-vi-ciate, of-fi-ciate, pro-pi-tiate, sub-stan-tiate." Webster: Old 
Spelling-Book, 8691; Neto, 121128. 

3. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 3d : " dres-ser, has-ty, pas- 
try, sei-zure, rol-ler, jes-ter wea-ver, vam-per, han-dy, dros-sy, glos-sy, mo-ver, 
mo-vmg, oo-zy, ful-ler, trus-ty, weigh-ty, noi-sy, drow-sy, swar-thy." Cobb's Standard 
Spelling -Book. Again : " eas-tern, full-y, pull-et, rill-et, scan-ty, nee-dy." Webster. 

4. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 4th: " aw-ry," Webster's 
Old Book, 52; " ath-wart," Ib. 93; " pros-pect-ive," Ib. 66; "pa-renth-e-sis," Ib. 
93; "res-ist-i-bil-i-ty," Webster's New Book, 93; " hem-is-pher-ic," Ib. 130; "mo- 
nos-tich, he-mis-tick,"* Walkers Diet. 8vo; Cobb, 33; "tow-ards," Cobb, 48. 

5. Correct the division of the following words by Rule 5th : " E'n-gland," Murray's 
Spelling -Book, p. 100 ; " a-no-ther," Ib. 71 ; " a-noth-er," Emerson, 76 ; " Be-thes-da, 
Beth-a-ba-ra," Webster, 141; Cobb, 159. 


1. Correct the division of the following words, according to their derivation : " ben-der, 
bles-sing, bras-sy, chaf-fy, chan-ter, clas-per, craf-ty, cur-dy, fen-der, fil-my, fus-ty, 
glas-sy, graf-ter, gras-sy, gus-ty, han-ded, mas-sy, mus-ky, rus-ty, swel-ling, tel-ler, 
tes-tcd, thrif-ty, ves-ture." Cobb's Standard Spelling -Book. 

2. Correct the division of the following words, so as to give no wrong notion of their 
derivation and meaning: "barb-er, burn-ish, brisk-et, cank-er, chart-er, cuck-oo, furn- 
ish, garn-ish, guil-ty, hank-er, lust-y, port-al, tarn-ish, test-ate, test-y, trait-or, treat-y, 
varn-ish, vest-al, di-urn-al, e-tern-al, in-fern-al, in-tern-al, ma-tern-al, noc-turn-al, 
pa-tern- al." Webster's Elementary Spelling-Book. 

3. Correct the division of the following words, so as to convey no wrong idea of 
their pronunciation : " ar-mo-ry, ar-te-ry, butch-er-y, cook-e-ry, eb-o-ny, em-e-ry, 
ev-e-ry, fel-o-ny, fop-pe-ry, frip-pe-ry, gal-le-ry, his-to-ry, liv-e-ry, lot-te-ry, mock- 
e-ry, mys-te-ry, nun-ne-ry, or-re-ry, pil-lo-ry, quack-e-ry, sor-ce-ry, witch-e-ry." 

4. Correct the division of the following words, and give to n before k the sound of 
ng : " ank-le, bask-et, blank-et, buck-le, cack-le, crank-le, crink-le, east-er, fick-le, 
freck-le, knuck-le, mark-et, monk-ey, port-ress, prick-le, poult-ice, punch- con, qua- 
drant, qua-drate, squa-dron, rank-le, shack-le, sprink-le, tink-le, twink-le, wrink-le." 
Cobb's Standard Spelling-Book. 

5. Correct the division of the following words, w r ith a proper regard to rules 1st and 
3d : " a-scribe, bland-ish, bran-chy, clou-dy, dus-ty, drea-ry, eve-ning, faul-ty, fil-thy, 
fros-ty, gau-dy, gloo-my, heal-thy, hear-ken, hear-ty, hoa-ry, lea-ky, loung-er, mar- 
shy, migh-ty, mil-ky, naugh-ty, pas-sing, pit-cher, rea-dy, roc-ky, spee-dy, stea-dy, 
stor-my, thirs-ty, thor-ny, trus-ty, ves-try, wes-tern, weal-thy." Emerson's Spelling- 
Book, 17-44. 


A Word is one or more syllables spoken or written as the sign of some 
idea, or of some manner of thought. Words are distinguished as prim- 
itive, or derivative, and as simple or compound. The former division is 
called their species ; the latter, their figure. 

A primitive word is one that is not formed from any simpler word in 
the language ; as, harm, great, connect. 

A derivative word is one that is formed from some simpler word in the 
language ; as, harmless, greatly, connected, disconnect, unconnected. 

*This word, like distich and monostich, is from the Greek stichos, a Terse ; and is improperly spelled by 
Walker with a final k. It should be hemistich, with the accent on the first syllable. See Webster, Scott, 
Perry, Worcester, and others. 


A simple word is one that is not compounded, not composed of other 
words ; as, watch, man, hoiiM, tower. 'lie, less. 

A compound word is one that is composed of two or more simple words ; 
as, watchman, watchhouse, VHttchtower, nevertheless. 

Permanent compounds are consolidated ; as, bookseller, schoolmaster : 
others, which may be called temporary compounds, are formed by the hy- 
phen ; as, good-natured, negrwnerchcmt. 




"\Yonls regularly or analogically united, and commonly known as compounds, 
should never be needlessly broken apart. Thus, steamboat, railroad, red-hot, 
wi'll-liring. m-ic-roitied, are preferable to the phrases, steam boat, rail road, 
red hot, well being, new coined ; and toward its is better than the old phrase, to 
us ward. 


When the simple words would only form a regular phrase, of the same meaning, 
the compounding of any of them ought to be avoided. Thus, the compound instead 
is not to be commended, because the simple phrase, in stead of, is exactly like 
the other pi !>< of, in place of, in room of, in which we write no coin- 

pound . 


lae liable to be misunderstood, must be joined together or written 
!y, as the sense and construction may happen to require. Thus, & glass 
a house made of glass, but a glasshouse is a house in which glass is made ; 
pro UK rrJtant is a coloured trader, but a negro-merchant is a man who buys 
and Mlla negn- 


"When two or more compounds are connected in one sentence, none of them 
should be spilt to make an ellipsis of half a word. Thus, " six or seventeen " 
should not he said for " sixteen or seventeen ; " nor ought we to say, " calf, goat, 
$} " for " calf tkint, goatskin*, and shecjiskins." In the latter in- 

noe, however, it might be right to separate nil the words; as in the phrase, 
'offee, and tea houses." Liberator, x, 40. 



When the parts of a compound do not fully coalesce, as to-day, to-night, to- 
morrotr ; or when each retain- il accent, so that the compound has more 

than "lie, or one that is moval>l> '//*, hn/ti/i-r-on, laughter-loving, garlic- 

er, butterjl>/-t}u>ll, the hyphen should be inserted between them. 


When a compound has but one accented syllable in pronunciation, as watchword, 

km, gentleman, and tin; parts are such as admit of a complete coalescence, 

no hyphen >huld b.- inser: m th.-m. Churchill, after much attention to 

ject, writes thus: " The practical instruction of the countinghouse imparts 

t Inn nigh knowledge of bookkeeping, than all the fictitious transactions 

of a mere schoolbook, however carefully constructed to suit particular pur- 

Xi'ir <!rum. p. vii. 15ut cowitingJiowe, having more stress on the last 

syllable than on the middle one, is usually written with the hyphen ; and book- 


keeping and school-book, though they may not need it, are oftener so formed than 


ORS. 1. Words are the least parts of significant language; that is, of language sig- 
nificant in each part ; for to syllables, taken merely as syllables, no meaning be 'longs. 
But, to a word, signification of some sort or other, is essential ; there can be no word 
without it ; for a sign or symbol must needs represent or signify something. And as I 
cannot suppose words to represent external things, I have said "A Word is one or moie 
syllables spoken or written as the sign of some idea." But of what ideas are the words 
of our language significant ? Are we to say, " Of all ideas ; " and to recognize as an 
English word every syllable, or combination of syllables, to which we know a meaning is 
attached ? No. For this, in the first place, would confound one language with an other ; 
and destroy a distinction which must ever be practically recognized, till all men shall 
again speak one language. In the next place, it would compel us to embrace among 
our words an infinitude of terms that are significant only of local ideas, such as men 
any where or at any time may have had concerning any of the individuals they have 
known, whether persons, places, or things. But, however important they may be in 
the eyes of men, the names of particular persons, places, or things, because they convey 
only particular ideas, do not properly belong to what we call our language. Lexicog- 
raphers do not collect and define proper names, because they are beyond the limits of 
their art, and can be explained only from history. I do not say that proper names are 
to be excluded from grammar ; but I would show wherein consists the superiority of 
general terms over these. For if our common words did not differ essentially from 
proper names, we could demonstrate nothing in science : we could not frame from them 
any general or affirmative proposition at all; because all our terms would be particular, 
and not general ; and because every individual thing in nature must necessarily be for- 
ever itself only, and not an other. 

OB.S. 2. Our common words, then, are the symbols neither of external particulars, nor 
merely of the sensible ideas which external particulars excite in our minds, but mainly 
of those general or universal ideas which belong rather to the intellect than to tie 
senses. For intellection differs from sensation, somewhat as the understanding of a 
man differs from the perceptive faculty of a brute ; and language, being framed for tie 
reciprocal commerce of human minds, whose perceptions include both, is made to coi.- 
sist of signs of ideas both general and particular, yet without placing them on equal 
ground. Our general ideas that is, our ideas conceived as common to many individuals, 
existing in any part of time, past, present, or future such, for example, as belong to 
the words man, horse, tree, cedar, wave, motion, strength, resist such ideas, I say, consti- 
tute that most excellent significance which belongs to words primarily, essentially, and 
immediately ; whereas, our particular ideas, such as are conceived only of individual 
objects, which are infinite in number and ever fleeting, constitute a significance which 
belongs to language only secondarily, accidentally, and mediately. If we express the 
latter at all, we do it either by proper names, of which but very few ever become gen- 
erally known, or by means of certain changeable limitations which are added to our 
general terms ; whereby language, as Harris observes, " without wandering into infini- 
tude, contrives how to denote things infinite." Hermes, p. 346. The particular manner 
in which this is done, I shall show hereafter, in Etymology, when I come to treat of 
articles and definitives. 

Ons. 3. If we examine the structure of proper names, we shall find that most of them 
are compounds, the parts of which have, in very many instances, some general signifi- 
cation. Now a complete phrase commonly conveys some particular notion or conception 
of the mind ; but, in this case, the signification of the general terms is restricted by the 
other words which are added to them. Thus smith is a more general term than (/old- 
smith ; and golds mit. h is more general than (/ -goldsmith ; a goldsmith, than the goldsmith ; 
the yoltltoiiifh, than one Goldsmith; one Goldsmith, than Mr. Goldsmifh ; Mr. Gtoftfem&A, 
than Oliver Goldsmith. Thus we see that the simplest mode of designating particular 
persons or objects, is that of giving them proper names ; but proper names must needs 
be so written, that they may be known as proper names, and not be mistaken for com- 
mon terms. I have before observed, that we have some names Avhich are both proper 
and common ; and that these should be written with capitals, and should form the 
plural regularly. It is surprising that the Friends, who arc in some respects particularly 
scrupulous about language, should so generally have overlooked the necessity there is, 
& compounding their numerical names of the months and days, and writing them uni- 
formly with capitals, as proper names. For proper names they certainly are, in every 
thing but the form, whenever they are used without the article, and without those 
other terms which render their general idea particular. And the compound form with. 


a capital, is as necessary for Firatday, Sc'i-o/iddn;/, T/ti.rdday, e., as for Sun/la;/, Monday , 
" The first day of the week " " The seventh day of the month " " The 
second mo.ith of summer" "The second month in the year," c., are good English 
phrases, in which any compounding of the terms, or any additional use of capitals, 
would lie improper; but, for common use-, those phrases are found too long and too 
artificial. \V" mu<t have a less cumbersome mode of specifying the months of the year 
and the days of the week. What then ? Shall we merely throw away the terms of 
particularity, and, without substituting in their place the form of proper names, apply 
general t-ri' ular thoughts, and insist on it that this is right? And is not 

this precisely what is done by those who reject as heathenish the ordinary names of the 
months ~, and write "Jrnt day," for Sunday, in stead of "the first day of the 

week;" or " 'niari/, in stead of "the second mo.ith in the year;" 

forth: This phraseology may perhaps be well understood by those to whom it 
is familiar, but still it is an abuse- of language, because it is inconsistent with the com- 
mon acceptation of the terms. Example: "The departure of a ship will take place 
ccrry sixth >!<nj with punctuality." I'hilath-lphia Weekly M>\s> ////<>. The writer of this 
did not men:!, " / / Friday ." and it is absurd for the Friends so to understand it, or 
so to write, when that is what they mean. 

L In the ordinary business of life, it is generally desirable to express our 
meaning as briefly as possible ; but legal phraseology is always full to the letter, and 
often redundant. Hence a merchant will write, "Nov. 24, 1837," or, "11 mo. 24th, 
1837 ;" but a conveyancer will have it, " On the twenty-fourth day of November, one 

: 1 (ij,ht hundred and thirty-seven" or, perhaps, "On the twenty-fourth day 

of the eleventh month, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty- 

seven." \ \ve find that, in common daily use, all the names of the months, 

except "-, and J/y, are abbreviated; thus. Jan., /'</;., A]>r., Aug., Sept., 

And sometimes even the Arabic number of the year is made yet 

shorter: :7; or 1835-6-7, for 1835, 1836, and 1837. In like manner, in 

con.t ruciing tables of time, we sometimes denote the days of the week by the simple 

; a-, 8. for Sunday, M. for Monday, &c. But, for facility of 

abbreviation, the numerical names, whether of the months or of the days, are perhaps 
still m - ; ent. For, if we please, we may put the simple Arabic figures for 

them; though it is better to add d for day, and mo. for month: as, 1 d. 2 d. 3 d. &c. ; 
i mo. &c. But, take which mode of naming we will, our ordinary expres- 
sion of these things should be in neither extreme, but should avoid alike too great 
brevity and too great prolixity ; and, therefore, it is best to make it a general rule in 
our literary compositions, to use the full form of proper names for the months and days, 
and to denote the years by Arabic figures written in full. 

o. In considering the nature of words, I was once a little puzzled with a 
curiou^ speculation, if I may not term it an important inquiry, concerning the principle 
of thctr iil'-mity. We often speak of "tin- sum/- /r/W.v," and of " dijf\ /<// 1 irords ;" but 
wherein docs the sameness or the difference of words consist? Not in their pronuncia- 
tion ; for the same word may be differently pronounced ; as, pat 'ran or pd'tron, mat'ron 
or tun .', t. Not in their orthography; for the same word may be differently spelled; 
as, favour or far-r, /////.>/. or musick, connexion or <\i,t/i<'<-fi<i. Not in their form of pre- 
sentation; for the same word may be either spoken or written; and speech and writing 
present what we call tin- , in two ways totally different. Not in their mean- 

ing; fox the same word may have different meanings, and different words may signify 
line thing. This sameness of words, then, must consist in something 
o b'_- reconciled with great diversity. Vet every word is itself, and not an 
otht 1 mu-t nc ( -<->s;irily ha\f some property peculiar to itself, by which 

it may be -igui>hed from every other. Were it not so, lang\iage would be 

unintelligible. But it is so; and, therefore, t > mistake one word for an other, is uni- 
.'.ly tii'Hiuht to betray great ignorance or great negligence, though such mistakes are 
by no of uu-Mimnou occurn that the question about the identity of 

words is not a iay appear from the fact, that the learned often disagree 

about it in practice ; as when one grammarian will have an and a to be two words, and an 
other will atlinn them t<> be only different forms of one and the same word. 

5. Let us see, then, if amidst all this diversity we can lind that principle of 
sameness, by which a dispute of this kind ought to be settled. Now, although different 
words do generally differ in Orthography, in pronunciation, and in meaning, so that an 
entire sameness implies one orthography, one pronunciation, and one meaning; yet 
some diversity is allowed in each of these respects, so that a sign differing from an other 
only in one, is not therefore a different word, or a si'_;n a^reein^ with an other only in 
one, is not therefore the same word. It follows thence, that the principle of verbal 
identity, the principle which distinguishes every word from every other, lies in neither 


extreme : it lies in a narrower compass than in all three, and yet not singly in any one, 
but jointly in any two. So that signs differing in any two of these characteristics of a 
word, are different words ; and signs agreeing in any two, are the same word. Conse- 
quently, if to any difference either of spelling or of sound we add a difference of signifi- 
cation everybody will immediately say, that we speak or write different words, and not 
the same : thus dear, beloved, and deer, an animal, are two such words as no one would 
think to be the same ; and, in like manner, use, advantage, and use, to employ, will 
readily be called different words. Upon this principle, an and a are different words ; 
yet, in conformity to old usage, and because the latter is in fact but an abridgement of 
the former, I have always treated them as one and the same article, though I have no- 
where expressly called them the same word. But, to establish the principle above 
named, which appears to me the only one on which any such question can be resolved, 
or the identity of words be fixed at all, we must assume that every word has one right pro- 
nunciation, and only one ; one just orthography, and only one ; and some proper signi- 
fication, which, though perhaps not always the same, is always a part of its essence. 
For when two words of different meaning are spelled or pronounced alike, not to main- 
tain the second point of difference, against the double orthography or the double 
pronunciation of either, is to confound their identity at once, and to prove by the rule 
that two different words are one and the same, by first absurdly making them so. 

OBS. 7. In no part of grammar is usage more unsettled and variable than in that 
which relates to the figure of words. It is a point of which modern writers have taken 
but very little notice. Lily, and other ancient Latin grammarians, reckoned both spe- 
cies and figure among the grammatical accidents of nearly all the different parts of 
speech ; and accordingly noticed them, in their Etymology, as things worthy to be thus 
made distinct topics, like numbers, genders, cases, moods, tenses, &c. But the manner 
of compounding w r ords in Latin, and also in Greek, is always by consolidation. No 
use appears to have been made of the hyphen, in joining the words of those languages, 
though the name of the mark is a Greek compound, meaning "under one." The com- 
pounding of words is one principal means of increasing their number ; and the arbitra- 
riness with which that is done or neglected in English, is sufficient of itself to make the 
number of our words a matter of great uncertainty. Such terms, however, having the 
advantage of explaining themselves in a much greater degree than others, have little 
need of definition ; and when new things are formed, it is very natural and proper to 
give them new names of this sort : as, steamboat, railroad. The propriety or impro- 
priety of these additions to the language, is not to be determined by dictionaries ; for 
that must be settled by usage before any lexicographer will insert them. And so nu- 
merous, after all, are the discrepancies found in our best dictionaries, that many a word 
may have its day and grow obsolete, before a nation can learn from them the right way 
of spelling it ; and many a fashionable thing may go entirely out of use, before a man 
can thus determine how to name it. Railroads are of so recent invention that I find 
the word in only one dictionary ; and that one is wrong, in giving the word a hyphen, 
while half our printers are wrong, in keeping the words separate because Johnson did 
not compound them. But is it not more important, to know whether we ought to write 
railroad, or rail-road, or rail road, which we cannot learn from any of our dictionaries, 
than to find out whether we ought to write rocklo, or roquelo, or roqiielaur, or roquelaure, 
which, in some form or other, is found in them all ? The duke of Roquelaure is now 
forgotten, and his cloak is out of fashion. 

OBS. 8. No regular phrase, as I have taught in the second rule above, should be 
needlessly converted into a compound word, either by tacking its parts together with 
the hyphen, or by uniting them without a hyphen : for, in general, a phrase is one thing, 
and a word is an other ; and they ought to be kept as distinct as possible.* But, when a 
whole phrase takes the relation of an adjective, the words must be compounded, and the 
hyphen becomes necessary ; as, "An inexpressibly apt bottle -of -small-beer comparison." 
Peter Pindar. The occasions for the compounding of words, are in general sufficiently 
plain, to any one who knows what is intended to be said ; but, as we compound words, 
-sometimes with the hyphen, and sometimes without, there is no small difficulty in 
:aseertaining when to use this mark, and when to omit it. " Some settled rule for the 
use of the hyphen on these occasions, is much wanted. Modern printers have a strange 
predilection for it ; using it on almost every possible occasion. Mr. L. Murray, who has 
only three lines on the subject, seems inclined to countenance this practice ; which is, 
no 'doubt, convenient enough for those who do not like trouble. His words are : ' A 

* According to Aristotle, the compounding of terms, or the writing of them as separate words,"must needs 
be a matter of great importance to the sense. For he will have the parts of a compound noun, or of a com- 
pound verb, to be, like other syllables, destitute of any distinct signification in themselves, whatever may be 
their meaning when written separately. See his definitions of the parts of speech, in his Poetics, Chapter 
20th -of the Greek ; or Goulston's Version in Latin, Chapter 12th. 


Hyphen, marked thus - is employed in connecting compounded words : as, Lap-dog, 
tea-pot, pro-existence, self-love, to-morrow, mother-in-law.' Of his six examples, John- 
son, our only acknowledged standard, gives the first and third without any separation 
between the syllables, lapdoij, prccxifitcnce ; his second and fifth as two distinct words 
each, (fa ji >'. '(> inrratc ; and his sixth as three words, mot /in- in lau- : so that only his 
fourth has the sanction of the lexicographer. There certainly can be no more reason for 
putting a hyphen after the common prefixes, than before the common affixes, ness, .'//, 
and the rest."CJwrckifft dram. p. 374. 

(j,, s . '.. Again : " While it would be absurd, to sacrifice the established practice of all 
good authors to the ignorance of such readers [as could possibly mistake for a diphthong 
the two contiguous vowels in such words as precxisteit.ce, cooperate, and reottcr] ; it would 
unqxiestionably be advantageous, to have some principle to guide us in that labyrinth of 
words, in which the hyphen appears to have been admitted or rejected arbitrarily, or at 
hap-hazard. Thus, though we find in Johnson, alms-basket, ////.*-///>//-, with the hy- 
phen ; we have alin*d>-c'l, al/nshouse, almsman, without : and many similar examples of 
an unsettled praetiee might be adduced, sufficient to fill several pages. In this perplex- 
ity, is not the pronunciation of the words the best guide? In the English language, 
every word of more than one syllable is marked by an accent on some particular sylla- 
ble. Some very long words indeed admit a,secondary accent on an other syllable ; but 
still this is much inferior, and leaves one leading accent prominent : as in expos' tulatory. 
Accordingly, when a compound has but one accented syllable in pronunciation, as 
MpAfcop, bed'stead, broadsword, the two words have coalesced completely into one, 
and no hyphen should be admitted. On the other hand, when each of the radical 
words has an accent, a,s Christ tan- name', broad' -shoul'dered, I think the hyphen should 
be used. Good'-na'tured is a compound epithet with two accents, and therefore requires 
the hyphen : in y<><> . -lond trill, and similar expressions, good is used simply as 

an adjective, and of course should remain distinct from the noun. Thus, too, when 
a noun is u>ed adjectively, it should remain separate from the noun it modifies ; as, 
a ijold rin(j, a sitcer buckle. AVhen two numerals are employed to express a number, with- 
out a conjunction between them, it is usual to connect them by a hyphen ; as, twc-nty- 
fooe, fi<ihfy-fuur : but when the conjunction is inserted, the hyphen is as improper as it 
would be between other words connected by the conjunction. This, however, is a com- 
mon abuse; and we often meet \t\t\\. fice-i$-ticcnty, six-^-thirty, and the like." Ib. p. 
370. Thus far Churchill : who appears to me, however, too hasty about the hyphen in 
compound numerals. For we write one hundred, tiro hundred, three thousand, &c., with- 
out either hyphen or conjunction ; and as Jive-and-tii-mf// is equivalent to twenty-Jive, 
and virtually but one word, the hyphen, if not absolutely necessary to the sense, i* 
certainly not so very improper as he alleges. "C&rwtfMNftttamr" is as often written without 
the hyphen as with it, and perhaps as accurately. 


'Professing to imitate Timon, the man hater." Goldsmith's Rome, p. 161. 

[FoRMULE. Not proper, because the compound term manhater Is here made two words. But, according to 
;! commonly known as compounds, should never be needlessly broken 
apart." lh -iiould be written as one word.] 

" Men load hay with a pitch fork." H ',/// /'., \ctr SpiJI'nKj-Book, p. 40. " A pear 
tree [' a pear." Ib. p. 33. "A tooth brush is good to brush your 

.;." V>. p. 8-1. "The mail is opened at the post office." Ib. p. 151. "The error 
Id." tinhorn's (li-aiii. p. 230. "To pre-engage means to engage 
before hand." U ', ,i</-B<>ok, p. 82. "It is a mean act to deface the 

tiu'uiv- on a mile stone." Ib. p. 88. " A grange i-* a farm and farm house." Ib. p. 118. 
" It is no more right to steal apples or water melons, than money." Ib. p. 118. "The 
awl is a tool uM-d by shoemakers, and harness makers." Ib. p. 150. " Twenty five cents 
are equal to one quarter of a dollar." Ib. p. 107. "The blowing up of the Fulton at 
York was a terrible di*a-ter." lh. p. .VI. "The elders also, and the bringers up 
of the children, sent to Jehu." SCOTT: 2 AV/I//.S-, x, 5. "Not with eye >ervice, as 
men pleasers." llic!.< /-.s/<7//, <>n l'r,nj,-r, p. 04. "A good natured and equitable con- 
struction of 08060." i /. p. 138. "And purify your hearts, ye double 
minded." Gurney's ]'<>/" ><(?$, p. Ho. " It is a mean spirited action to steal; 
i. e. to steal is a mean spirited action." (lranr nf Al>.c. Murray, the schoolmaster, 
p. 12 i. " There is, indeed, one form of orthography which is a kin to the subjunctive 


mood of the Latin tongue." Booth's Introd. to Diet. p. 71. "To bring him into nearer 
connexion with real and everyday life." Philological Museum, i, p. 459. " The com- 
mon place, stale declamation of its revilers would be silenced." Ib. i, p. 494. "She 
formed a very singular and unheard of project." Goldsmith's Rome, p. 160. "lie had 
many vigilant, though feeble talented, and mean spirited enemies." ROBERTS YAUK : 
The. Friend^ vii, p. 74. " These old fashioned people would level our psalmody," &c. 
Music of Nature, p. 292. " This slow shifting scenery in the theatre of harmony." 76. 
p. 398. "So we are assured from Scripture it self." Harris's Hermes, p. 300. "The 
mind, being disheartened, then betakes its self to trifling." R. Johnson's Pref. to Gram. 
Com. "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them." Beacon, p. 115: 
SCOTT, ALGEU, FRIENDS: John, xx, 23. "Tarry we our selves how we will." Walk.r's 
English Particles, p. 161. "Manage your credit so, that you need neither swear your 
self, nor want a voucher." Collier's Antoninus, p. 33. "Whereas song never conveys 
any of the above named sentiments." Rush, on the Voice, p. 424. " I go on horse back." 

Guy's Gram. p. 54. "This requires purity, in opposition to barbarous, obsolete, or 
new coined words." Adam's Gram. p. 242 ; Gould's, 234. " May the Plough share shine." 

White's Eng. Verb, p. 161. " Which way ever we consider it." Locke, on Ed. p. 83. 

" W r here e'er the silent (e) a Place obtains, 
The Voice foregoing, Length arid softness gains." Brightland's Gr. p. 15. 


"It qualifies any of the four parts of speech abovenamed." Kirkham's Gram. p. 83. 

[FORMULE Not proper, because abovenamed is here unnecessarily made a compound. But, according to 
Rule 2d, " When the s-imple words would only form a regular phrase, of the same meaning, the compound- 
ing of any of them ought to be avoided." Therefore, above and named should here have been written 
as two words ] 

" After awhile they put us out among the rude multitude." Fox's Journal, i, p. 169. 
"It would be ashame, if your mind should falter and give in." Collier's Meditations of 
Antoninus, p. 94. "They stared awhile in silence one upon another." Passelas, p. 73. 
" After passion has for awhile exercised its tyrannical sway." Murray's Gram, ii, 
135 and 267. "Though set within the same general-frame of intonation." Rush, on 
the Voice, p. 339. " Which do not carry any of the natural vocal signs of expression." 
Ib. p. 329. "The measurable constructive-powers of a few associable constituents." 
Ib. p. 343. " Before each accented syllable or emphatic monosyllabic-word." Ib. 
p. 364. " One should not think too favourably of oneself." See Murray's Gram, i, p. 154. 
" Know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you." Barclay's Works, i, 
p. 355. " I judge not my ownself, for I knew nothing of my ownself." Way land's Moral 
Science, p. 84. " Though they were in such a rage, I desired them to tarry awhile." 
Josephus, v, p. 179. "A instead of an is now used before words beginning with u long."- 
Murray's Gram. p. 31. "John will have earned his wages the next new-year's day." 
Murray's Gram. p. 82. " A new-year's-gift is a present made on the first day of the 
year." See Johnson, Walker, Webster, et al. " When he sat on the throne, distributing 
new-year's-gifts." STILLINGFLEET, in Johnson's Diet. " St. Paul admonishes Timothy to 
refuse old-wives' -fables." Author. " The world, take it altogether, is but one." Collier's 
Antoninus, B. vii, Sec. 9. " In writings of this stamp we must accept of sound instead of 
sense." Murray's Gram.p. 298. "A male-child, A female-child. Male-descendants, Fe- 
male-descendants." Goldsburi/s C. S. Gram. p. 13 ; Rev. T. Smith's Gram. p. 15. " Male- 
servants, Female-servants. Male-relations, Female-relations." Felton's Gram. p. 15. 
" Reserved and cautious, with no partial aim, 

My muse e'er sought to blast another's fame." Lloyd, p. 162. 


" Our discriminations of this matter have been but four footed instincts." Rush, on 
the Voice, p. 291. 

[Forrmde. Not proper, because the term four footed is made two words, as if the instincts were four and 
footed. But. according to Kule 3d, " Words otherwise liable to be misunderstood, must be joined together, 
or wrktetj separately, as the sense and construction may happen to require." Therefore, four-fooled, as it 
here means <{uail raped, or having four feet, should be One word ] 

"Tie is in the right, (says Clytus,) not to bear free born men at his table." Goldsmith's 
Greece,, ii, p. 128. "To the sho'rt seeing eye of man, the progress may appear little. "- 
The Friend, ix, p. 377. " Knowledge and virtue are, emphatically, the stepping stone to 
individual distinction." Town's Analysis, p. 5. " A tin peddler will sell tin vessels as he 
travels." Webster's New Spelling-Book, p. 44. " The beams of a wood-house are held up 
by the posts and joists." Ib. p. 39. " What you mean by future tense adjective, I can 


easily understand." Tooke's Diversions, ii, p. 450. " The town has been for several days 
very well behaved." S/n-rfafor, Xo. 532. "A rounce is the handle of a printing pre . " 
r'a !)'.; also /."/. Spi-Htuy-Ii >>!;, p. 118. "The phraseology we call th,.-i- ami thnuiwj 
is not in so common use with us, as the tutoyant among the French." \Yalk-.r s / 
Th>/. " Hunting, and other out door sports, are generally pursued." Balbi's (!--<rr. p. 'I'll. 
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden." SCOTT, AUJKK, FUII.M>S: 
Matt, xi, us. " (iod so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son to save 
it." Barclay's Works, i, p. 71 ; Scott's Bible, John, iii, 16. "Jehovah is a prayer hearing 
God: Nineveh repented, and was spared." A". 1". Observer, x, p. 90. "These are well 
pleading to God, in all ranks and relations." Barclay's Works, i, p. 73. "Whosoever 
cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle." Numb, xvii, 13. "The words po 
when they have a long established association." Murray's Gram. p. 169. "Open to me 
the gates of right I will go in to them." OLD 13nu.r: : /'*. cxviii, 19. "He 

saw an angel of Uod coining into him." See Acts, x, 3. "The consequences of any 
action are to be considered in a two fold light." Wayland's Moral St-ii-nce, p. 108. 
\Ve commonly write two fold, three fold, four fold, and so on up to ten fold, without a 
hyphen; and, afrer that, we use one." Author. Sec Matt, xiii, 8. "When the first 
mark i- . he cries turn ! the glass holder answers d nie ! " Bowditch's Nav. p. 128. 

" It is a kind of familiar shaking hands with all the vices." MafHrin's Si-rmon.s, p. 170. 
" She is a i^ood natured woman ; " " James is self opinionated ; " " He is broken hearted." 
kfj Gram. ]>. 147. " These three examples apply to ihcpresent tense construction 
only." Ih. p. 65. " So that it was like a game of hide and go seek." Edward's First 
Lessons in Grammar, p. 90. 

" That lowliness is young ambition's ladder, 
Whereto the climber upward turns his face." Bucke's Gram. p. 97. 


" This building serves yet for a school and a meeting-house." 

[ FOR-.: ' roj !-. ln-1'au-o the compound word xchooliiimxi- is hero divided to avoid a repetition of the 

Kiir, iierordiiii; to Kule 4tli, u \Vheii two or more compounds are connected in one sentence, none of 

. make nn ellipsis of half a wurJ." Therefore, " AcAoo/" should be " sclioulliouse ; : ' thus, 
' This luiil lin n ' MTV. s \-t tor a schoolhouse and a meeting-house." ] 

- and mi>tresses of honest friends [are] to be encouraged." N". E. 
xv. " We never assumed to ourselves a faith or worship-making-power." 

. i. ]). 83. " Pot and pe.ul ashes are made from common ashes." ll'cb- 

, p. 69. " Both the ten and eight syllable verses are iambics." 

''rant. \>. \'2\. " 1 say to myself, thou, he says to thy, to his self; &c." Dr. 

<//'/. ii, p. TJ1. "Or those who have e -teemed them>clves skilful, 

have trie,lf trthe mastery in two or four horse chariots." '/.">i'>bia,\, p. 152. "I remember 

him barefooted and beaded, running through the streets." Castle Rackrcnt, p. (18. 

Is have tin- entire control of the school and dwelling-houses." The Friend, vii, 

p. '2 "> 1 . ' The meeting is held at the first mentioned place in the iirst month, at the last in 

mil M) on." Ib. ]). 107. " M' i tings for worship arc held at the same hour 

on lir.-t and fourth days." Ib. p. 230. "Every part of it, inside and out, is covered 

with gold leaf." Ib. p. 401. "The Eastern Quarterly Meeting is held on the last 

'. h'i'tb, eighth, and eleventh month." Ib. p. 87. "Trenton 

held on the third lifth day in each month, at ten o'clock ; meet- 

-hip at the same hour on first and fifth days." Ib. p. 231. " Ketch, a vessel 

with t\. . main and mi/./.en-mast." \Vvbstrr' s Diet. "I only mean to suggest a 

cnlistel hrr<elf as a ('is or Trans -Atlantic partisan ?" 

ISy large hammers, like tbo>e n>ed for ]i:]:er anil fullingmillH, 

they beat thiir hemp." MOKTIMKK : /// ,/n/i/isfn/i'.<i Dirt. " Ant-hill, or Hillock, n. s. The 
small protui : i-arth, in which ants make their nots." Ib. " lt*became 

sary to substituh .led j>r.>- names or noun*."i:m-tytica t p. 16. 

;. where highest woods, impenetrable 
t sun-light, spread their umbrage broad." Milton. 

I.K V. THE Hvi'iiKN. 

" l-'.ri/f/iin kiny ; a noun, compounded of the noun evil and the imperfect participle 
C number;" Xc. ChurrlnH'x (i,-<i//i. p. 180. 

i'-li li:is more tlian one accented s\lhibV 
eonpouodedwi bout the hyphen. Itur.. .,- \Vhcn the parts of :i < ompound do not fully 

:ts its origin : ;..u'i.i ha- nmn- tlian oi.e. or ,, 

.-iiould be iuscrted between them." Therefore, the h\ phea .-huuld be used in thb word; 
^-thinking. } 


" Evilspedking ; a noun, compounded of the noun evil and the imperfect participle 
s-praking." Ib. "lam a tall, broadshouldered, impudent, black fellow." SPECTATOR: 
in Johnson's Diet. " Ingratitude ! thou marblehearted fiend." SHAK. : ib. " A popular 
licence is indeed the inanyheaded tyranny." SIDNEY : ib. " He from the manypcopled 
city flies." SANDYS : ib. " He manylanguaged nations has surveyed." POPE : ib. " The 
horsecucumber is the large green cucumber, and the best for the table." MORTIMER : ib. 
" The bird of night did sit, even at noonday, upon the market-place." SHAK. : ib. 
" These make a general gaoldelivery of souls, not for punishment." SOUTH : ib. " Thy 
air, thou other goldbound brow, is like the first." SHAK. : ib. " His person was 
deformed to the highest degree ; flatnosed, and blobberlipped." I/ESTRANGE : ib. " He 
that defraudeth the labourer of his hire, is a bloodshedder." ECCLUS. xxxiv, 22: ib. 
" Bloodyminded, adj. from bloody and mind. Cruel; inclined to blood-shed." See John. 
Diet. " Bluntwitted lord, ignoble in demeanour." SHAK. : ib. " A young fellow with 
a bobwig and a black silken bag tied to it. " SPECTATOR : ib. " I have seen enough to 
confute all the boldfaced atheists of this age." BRAMHALL : ib. " Before milkwhite, 
now purple with love's wound." SHAK.: ib. " For what else is a redhot iron than 
fire ? and what else is a burning coal than redhot wood ? " NEWTON : ib. " Poll evil is 
a large swelling, inflammation, or imposthume in the horse's poll, or nape of the neck 
just between the ears." FARRIER : ib. 

" Quick-witted, brazenfac'd, with fluent tongues, 
Patient of labours, and dissembling wrongs." DRYDEN : ib. 

" From his fond parent's eye a tear-drop fell." Snetting's Gift for Scribblers, p. 43. 

[FoRMULE. Not proper, because the word tear-drop, which has never any other than a full accent on the 
first syllable, is here compounded with the hyphen. But, according to Rule 6th, " When a compound has 
but one accented syllable in pronunciation, and the parts are such as admit of a complete coalescence, no 
hyphen should be inserted between them. 5 ' Therefore, teardrop should be made a close compound.] 

" How great, poor jack-daw, would thy sufferings be ! " Ib. p. 29. " Placed like a 
scare-crow in a field of corn." Ib. p. 39. " Soup for the alms-house at a cent a quart." 
Ib. p. 23. " Up into the watch-tower get, and see all things despoiled of fallacies." 
DONNE : Johnson's Diet. w. Lattice. " In the day-time she sitteth in a watchtower, and 
flieth most by night." BACON : ib. w. Watchtower. " In the daytime Fame sitteth in a 
watch-tower, and flieth most by night." ID.: ib. w. Daytime. " The moral is the first busi- 
ness of the poet, as being the ground-work of his instruction." DRYDEN : ib. w. Moral. 
" Madam's own hand the mouse-trap baited." PRIOR : ib. w. Mouse-trap. " By the sink- 
ing of the air-shaft the air hath liberty to circulate." RAY : ib. ic. Airshaft. " The multi- 
form r.nd amazing operations of the air-pump and the loadstone." WATTS : ib. w. Mul- 
tiform. "Many of the fire-arms are named from animals." Ib. w. Musket. " You might 
have trussed him and all his apparel into an eel-skin." SHAK.: ib. tv. Truss. " They 
may serve as land-marks, to shew what lies in the direct way of truth." LOCKE : ib. to. 
Landmark. " A pack-horse is driven constantly in a narrow lane and dirty road." Id. 
ib. w. Lane. " A mill-horse, still bound to go in one circle." SIDNEY: ib. u\ Mill-horse. 
" Of singing birds they have linnets, goldfinches, ruddocks, Canary-birds, black-birds, 
thrushes, and divers others." CAREW : ib. w. Goldfinch. " Of singing birds, they have 
linnets, gold-finches, blackbirds, thrushes, and divers others." ID.: ib. w. Blackbird. 
"Of singing birds, they have linnets, goldfinches, ruddocks, canary birds, blackbirds, 
thrushes, and divers other." ID.: ib. w. Canary bird. " Cartridge, a case of paper or 
parchment filled with gun-powder." Johnson. 

" Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night, 
The time of night when Troy was set on fire, 
The time when screech-owls cry, and ban-dogs howl." 

SHAKSPEARE : ib. w. Silent. 
"The time when screech-owls cry, and bandogs howl." 

IDEM : ib. w. Bandog. 


" They that live in glass-houses, should not throw stones." Old Adage. " If a man 
profess Christianity in any manner or form soever." Watts, p. 5. "For Cassius is a 
weary of the world." SHAKSFBABE : tn Kir kham's Elocution, p. 67. "By the coming 
together of more, the chains were fastened on." Walker s Particles, p. 223. " Unto the 
carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month." Jer. i, 3. " And the goings 


forth of the border shall be to Zedad." .V/////V-/-.V, xxxiv, 8. " And the goings out of it 
shall be at Ha/ar-enan." Ib. ver. 9. "For the taking place of effects, in a certain 
particular scries." Dr. IIVs/, <,,, \ /^ncy, p. 39. "The letting go of which was the 
occasion of all that corruption." Dr. J. <)//< . " A falling off at the cud always hurts 
greatly." Blair's Le<-f. p. 120. "A falling off at the end is always injurious." 
n'j rJirtnrir, p. 127. "As all holdings forth were courteously supposed to be 
trains of reasoning." Dr. Murrui/x I/i*t. I'.am,,. Lany. i, p. 333. "Whose goings forth 
have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah, v, 2. " Some times the adjective 
beo>me> a >ubstantive." BriuUt-y's Gram. p. 104. " It is very plain, I consider man as 
vi>itcd a new." Barclay's Works, iii, p. 331. " Xor do I any where say, as he falsely 
insinuates." Ib. p. 331. "Every where, any where, some where, no where." Alex. 
Mum/', '\ t irii in. p. ~)~). "The world hurries off a pace, and time is like a rapid river." 
i .f<un'nit-i,i>. 58. " But to new model the paradoxes of ancient skepticism." 
Brniri,' . i, p. 102. "The south east winds from the ocean invariably produce 

rain." IT, v, p. 369. " North west winds from the high lands produce cold 

clear weather." Ib. "The greatest part of such tables would be of little use to English 
men." /'/// sVAy'.s dram. p. 155. "The ground floor of the east wing of Mulberry 
street meeting house wax filled." The Friend, vii, 232. " Prince Rupert's Drop. This 
singular production is made at the glass houses." Red Book, p. 131. 

" The lights and shades, whose well accorded strife 
Gives all the strength and colour of our life." 

Murray's Gram. p. 54 ; Fish's, 65. 


" In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in 
Tir/ah." ', ;. \~t. "In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah, began 

Omri to reign over Israel." Ih. xvi, 23. " lie cannot so deceive himself as to fancy 
that he is able to do a rule of three sum." ' Quarterly Review. " The best cod 

e known under the name of Isle of Shoals dun tish." BalbCs Geoff, p. 26. " The 
soldiers, with down ( i med to beg for mercy." Goldsmith's Greece, ii, p. 142. 

" lli-^ ivercd with a coarse worn out piece of cloth." Ib. p. 124. "Though 

they had lately received a reinforcement of a thousand heavy armed Spartans." Ib. p. 
38. " But he laid them by unopened ; and, with a smile, said, 'Business to morrow.' " 
-tor monthly meeting is held at Moore's town, the third day following 
md second day." The Friend, vii, p. 124. " Eggharbour monthly* meeting is 
held the first second day." Ib. p. 124. " Little Eu r g Harbour Monthly Meeting is held 
\"i-t.on on the second fifth day in each month." Ib. p. 231. "At three o'clock, 
on first day morning the 2 Ith of eleventh month, 1834," &c. Ib. p. 64. " In less than one- 
fourth part of the time usually devoted." Kirkham's Gram. p. 4. "The pupil will not 
have occasion to use it one-tenth part as much." Ib. p. 11. "The painter dips his 
paint brush in paint, to paint the carriage." Ib. p. 28. " In an ancient English version 
iinent." Ib. p. 74. "The little boy was bare headed.'' Red Book, p. 
! :ie man, being a little >hort sighted, did not immediately know him." Ib. p. 40. 
'id." Ib. p. 44. "The park keeper killed one of the 

l>>. p. H. "The fox was killed near the brick kiln." Ib. p. 46. " Here comes 

. with her milk pail." Ib. p. 50. "The cabinet maker would not tell us." Ib. 

p. 60. A tine thorn hedge extended along the edge of the hill. Ib. p. 65. "If their 

private interests should be ever s > little ati'erted." If,, p. 73. " Unios are fresh water 

shelU, vulgarly called fre-h water clams." 1/>. p. 102. 

" Did not each poet mourn his luckless doom, 

!ed by pedants out of elbow room." Lloyd, p. 163. 


"The captive hovers a-while upon the sad remains." Puiou : in Johnson's I- 

:w that the hand writing agreed with the contents of the letter." 

. ir. Unnil. " They have put me in a silk night-gown, and a gaudy fool'- 

ID.: ih. ir. .y/v//' .-,'. Have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has 

aved that rlod-patrd. numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from min, and all his 

family?" Aunrr!i\' . A noble, thai i-. -i\ -hillinizs and eicrht- 

. ia, and usually hath been paid." li\ birds thick 

d and with full-sum: ." Howi ., 

FuU-snninii-iL "Tomorrow. This is an idiom of the same ki;i 
mean originally morniny : as, to night, to day." Juhn^.jn's Diet. 4to. " To-day goes away 


and to-morrow comes." Id. ib. w. Go, No. 70. "Young children, who are tried in go 
carts, to keep their steps from sliding." PRIOR : ib. w. Go-cart. " Which, followed well, 
would demonstrate them but goers backward." SHATC. : ib. w. Goer. " Heaven's 
golden winged herald late he saw, to a poor Galilean virgin sent." CRASHAW : ib. 
10. Golden. " My penthouse eye-brows and my shaggy beard offend your sight." 
DRYDEN : ib. in. Penthouse. " The hungry lion would fain have been dealing with good 
horse-flesh." I/ESTRANGE : ib. w. Nag. " A broad brimmed hat ensconced each careful 
head." fuelling's Gift, p. 63. "With harsh vibrations of his three stringed lute." 
Ib. p. 42. " They magnify a hundredfold an author's merit." Ib. p. 14. "I'll nail 
them fast to some oft opened door." Ib. p. 10. " Glossed over only with a saint-like 
show, still thou art bound to vice." DRYDEN : in Johnson's Diet. w. Gloss. " Take of 
aqua-fortis two ounces, of quick-silver two drachms." BACON : ib. w. Charge. " This 
rainbow never appears but when it rains in the sun-shine." NEWTON : ib. iv. Rainbow. 
" Not but there are, who merit others palms ; 
Hopkins and Stem hold glad the heart with Psalms." 

British Poets, Lond. 1800, Vol. vi, p. 405. 


Spelling is the art of expressing words by their proper letters. This 
important art is to be acquired rather by means of the spelling-book or 
dictionary, and by observation in reading, than by the study of written 
rules ; because what is proper or improper, depends chiefly upon usage. 

The orthography of our language is attended with much uncertainty 
and perplexity : many words are variously spelled by the best scholars, 
and many others are not usually written according to the analogy of similar 
words. But to be ignorant of the orthography of such words as are spelled 
with uniformity, and frequently used, is justly considered disgraceful. 

The following rules may prevent some embarrassment, and thus be of 
service to those who wish to be accurate. 


Monosyllables ending in /, I, or s, preceded by a single vowel, double the final 
consonant ; as staff, mill, pass muff, knell, gloss off, hiss, puss. 

EXCEPTIONS. The words clef, if, and of, are written with single/; and as, gas, has, 
was, yes, his, is, this, MS, pus, and thus, with single s. So bid, for the flounder ; mil, for 
no, in law ; sol, for son or sun; and sal, for salt, in chemistry, have but the single /. 

OBS. Because sal, salts, in Latin, doubles not the /, the chemists write salify, sal/fable, 
salification, saliferous, saline, salinous, saliniform, salify ing, c., with single /, contrary to 
Rule 3d. But in gas they ought to double the s ; for this is a word of their own invent- 
ing. Neither have they any plea for allowing it to form gases and gaseous with the s still 
single ; for so they make it violate two general rules at once. If the singular cannot 
now be written gass, the plural should nevertheless be gasses, and the adjective should 
be gasseotis, according to llule 3d. 


"Words ending in any other consonant than/, I, or s, do not double the final let- 
ter; as, mob, nod, dog, sum, sun, cup, cur, cut, fix, whiz. 

EXCEPTIONS. We double the consonant in abb, ebb, add, odd, egg, jagg, ragg, inn, err, 
burr, purr, butt, buzz, fuzz, yarr, and some proper names. But we have also ab (from) 
and ad (to) for prefixes ; and jay, rag, in, bur, and but, are other words that conform to 
the rule. 



Monosyllables, and words accented on the last syllable, when they end with a 

single consonant preceded by a single vowel, or by a vowel after qu, double their 

final c< nxuiimt before an additional syllable that begins with a vowel : as, rob, 

r :./ ; 7', f'>/tjn's/t, /'YY"'/'.'/ ,* aqnat, squatter, squatting ; thin, tlimn-r, 

lit! niit'xt ; .- miner, i>n-i mini mj ; commit, cnminiHcth, <oni)nitfiu<J,COm- 

tuittcil. roitiniitter, committee ; acquit, acquittal, acquittance, acquitted, acquit- 
tinf/. tirqnitteth. 

11 ,\>. 1. X final, being equivalent to ks, is never doubled: thus, from mix, 

we ha\ . <>/////, and miser. 2. "NVhen the derivative retains not the accent of 

the root, the final consonant is not always doubled: as, prefer 1 ', preference, preferable ; 

'<", or refer 'rible ; infer', in'ference, in'ferable, or infer'rible ; transfer 1 , 

'i.'e. 3. But letters doubled in Latin, are usually 

doubled in English, without regard to accent, or to any other principle: as, Britain, 
.iia; appeal, appel'lant ; argil, argil'lous, argil/a 'ceous ; cavil, car'Ulwis, 
. excellence ; inflame', inflam'mable, iiiflamma'tion. See Obser- 
vations 9 and 10, p. 190. 


A final consonant, when it is not preceded by a single vowel, or when the ac- 
cent is nut on the last syllable, should remain single before an additional syllable : 
a< t fif. /*///////; oil. oil;/ ; risit, visited; differ, differing; peril, perilous ; viol, 
. r,-nli~,', realist ; dial, dialing, dialist ; equal, equalize, equality ; 


MOV-;. 1. The final / of words ending in </, must be doubled before an other 
\ er of the e be mistaken, and a syllable be lost : as, travel, traveller ; 
. iiran-lly ; niarn-l, intirr, Units. Yet the word parallel, 

Ells already, conforms to the rule in forming its derivatives ; as,partilMinrr, 
. mid utipat _'. Contrary to the preceding rule, the preterits, partici- 

>, and derivative nouns, of the few verbs ending in al, il, or ol, unaccented, namely, 
i<df, ///(//, riu', ma, . '. , <n-il,p,-ncil, carol, gambol, and pistol, are usually allowed 

double the A though some dissent from the practice: as, equalled, ryuafliny ; riratfrd, 

t'l-il, carnUin'i, carollcr. 3. When ly follows /, 

liave two Klls of course, but in fact no doublin- - really ; oral, orally ; cruel, 

n)l, u-ooUy. 4. Compounds, though they often re- 

the i rincipal accent from the point of duplication, always retain the double 
letter : . /-,* grass'hopper, dttrk'-lft/f/i-d, f>pur'-f/(ifl<-d, hot'spurred, 

. '"iff-icitfi'd. So, compromittcd and manumitted; but benefited 
is different. 


ml Knuli.-h vt -*rbs end not with c, but take ck for double c: as, 
to <it!n,-l- ; but, in general, words derived from the learned lan- 

nced not the k, and common use discards it: as, Italic, maniac, music, 

El ids arc, part of a circle ; ore, the name of a fish ; lac, a gum or 
n < l , in old English law, are ended with c only. Zinc is, 

, better spelled zink ; marc, /nark ; disc, disk ; and talc, talck. 


ling with any double letter, preserve it double before any additional 
termination, not beginning with the same letter,! as in the following derivatives: 

B; < 

; riii.-ij.l.-. or nnr. i< qr.c-ti^naM.-. If Dr. \V.O.sti-r is ri^ht in m:ik- 
!>' funii-li,^ a C ,M.-.,H : L '.iiii>f iii- own practice of uMng a single p 
v.i.r-l ;ip pears to have been wtorthscypr. But words 
rui.l th.-ivf.. r .' th,.\ .'. ,-ui to belong to the rule, rather 

p. 68. 

\\ lii-ii .. <..,,,, bffoi ) rappOMd to do BO, or \M 'iie letters is 

"f tin- .-an,. .-LUt, skillns; full, 

"'// And, as bnrg< ^ i, 1 uoi compound*, 

think tlu-y ought to follow the same priuciple, and be written burgess/tip, hotttsship, mutresship. The proper 


wooer, seeing, blissful, oddly, gruffly, squally, shelly, hilly, stiffness, illness, still- 
ness, shrillness, feline ss, smallness, drollness,freencss, grassless, passless, careless- 
ness, recklessness, embarrassment, enfeoffment, agreement, agreeable. 

EXCEPTIONS. 1. Certain irregular derivatives in t, from verbs ending in II 01 ss, as 
dwelt from dwell, spelt from spell, shalt from shall, wilt from will, blest from bless, past from 
pass, are exceptions to the foregoing rule. 2. If the word pontiff is properly spelled 
with two Effs, its eight derivatives are also exceptions to this rule ; for they are seve- 
rally spelled with one : as, pontific, pontifical, pontificate, &c. 3. The words skillful, skill- 
fully, willful, willfully, chillness, tallness, dullness, and fullness, have generally been allowed 
to drop the second /, though all of them might well be made to conform to the general 
rule, agreeably to the orthography of Webster. 


"Words ending with any double letter, preserve it double in all derivatives 
formed from them by means of prefixes : as, see, foresee ; feoff, enfeojf ; pass, re- 
pass ; press, depress ; miss, amiss; call, recall; stall, forestall ; thrall, inthrall ; 
spell, misspell; tell, foretell ; sell, undersell; add, superadd ; snuff, besnujf ; 
swell, overswell. 

OBSERVATION. The words enroll, unroll, miscall, befall, befell, bethrall, reinstall, disin- 
thrall, fulfill, and twibill, are very commonly written with one /, and made exceptions to 
this rule ; but those authors are in the right who retain the double letter. 


Final II is peculiar to monosyllables and their compounds, with the few deriva- 
tives formed from such roots by prefixes ; consequently, all other words that end in 

1, must be terminated with a single /: as, cabal, logical, appal, excel, rebel, refel, 
dispel, extol, control, mogul, jackal, rascal, damsel, handsel, tinsel, tendril, 
tranquil, gambol, consul. 

OBSERVATION. The words annul, until, distil, extil, and instil, are also properly 
spelled with one I ; for the monosyllables null, till, and still are not really their roots, 
but rather derivatives, or contractions of later growth. Webster, however, prefers distill, 
extill, and instill with II ; and some have been disposed to add the other two. 


The final e of a primitive word, when this letter is mute or obscure, is generally 
omitted before an additional termination beginning with a vowel : as, remove, re- 
moval; rate, ratable ; force, forcible; true, truism; rave, raving; sue, suing; 
eye, eying ; idle, idling ; centre, centring. 

EXCEPTIONS. 1. Words ending in ce or ge, retain the e before able or ous, to preserve 
the soft sounds of c and g : as, trace, traceable ; change, changeable ; outrage, outrageous. 

2. So, from shoe, we write shoeing, to preserve the sound of the root ; from hoe, hoeing, 
by apparent analogy ; and, from singe, singeing ; from swinge, swingeing ; from tinge, 
tingeing ; that they may not be confounded with singing, swinging, and tinging. 3. To 
compounds and prefixes, as firearms, forearm, anteact, viceagent, the rule does not apply ; 
and final ee remains double, by Rule VI, as in disagreeable, disagreeing. 


The final e of a primitive word is generally retained before an additional termi- 
nation beginning with a consonant : as, pale, paleness ; edge, edgeless ; judge, 
judgeship ; lodge, lodgement; change, changeful; infringe, infringement. 

form of gall-less is perhaps more doubtful. It ought not to be gallless, as Dr Webster has it ; and gnlless< the 
analogical form, is yet, so far as I know, without authority. But is it not preferable to the hyphened form, 
with three Ells, which has authority ? > ' GALL-LESS, a. Without gall or bitterness. Cleat-eland.'" Chalmers. 
Bottes, Worcester. 

" Ah ! mild and gall-less dove, 
Which dost the pure and candid dwellings love, 

Canst thou in Albion still delight ? "Cotvley's Odes. 

Worcester's Dictionary has also the questionable word "bellless." Treen,for trees, or for an adjective 
meaning a tree's, or made of a tree, is exhibited in several of our dictionaries, and pronounced as a monosyl- 
lable : but Dr Beattie, in his Poems, p. 84, has made it a dissyllable, with three like letters divided by a 
hyphen, thus : 

"Plucking from tree-en bough her simple food." 


EXPIATION*. 1. When the e is preceded by a vowel, it is sometimes omitted ; as in 
dull/, tnil, . rf; but much more frequently retained ; as in diteness, triteness,* 

///'. rueful, dm-ful, xhnt-h -.s,v, eyeless. 2. The word wholly is also an exception to 
the rule, for nobody wxitaa it 3. Some will have jmlij ment, abridgment, and ac- 
kinnrl,:t<ii irreclaimable exceptions ; but I write them with the e, upon the 

authority of Lowth. Beattif, Ainsworth, Walker, Cobb, Chalmers, and others: the 
French "jugentent" judgement, always retains the e. 


The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a consonant, is generally 
changed into i before an additional termination : as, merry, merrier, merriest, 
merrily, merriment; pity, pitied, pities, pitiest, pitiless, pitiful, pitiable ; con- 
trary, rnntriirim'.<*. r,,/,//v//-//y. 

mam, 1. This rule applies to derivatives, but not to compounds : thus, we 
writ* , md mercy-scut ; j>cnnilcns, and pennyworth ; scttrriness, and scurry-grass ; &C. 

But /n>i'>/*/'u'ii vaA. goody hip, being unlike sccretarislnp and suretyship ; handicraft and handi- 
, * unlike handyyripe and h a ndy stroke ; habyship and babyhood, unlike stateliness and 
likelihood; the distinction between derivatives and compounds, we see, is too nice a 
point to have been always accurately observed. 2. Before ing or ish, the y is retained to 
prevent the doubling of i: as, pity, pity ing ; baby, babyish. 3. Words ending in ie, drop- 
tin' by Rule 9th, change the i into y, for the same reason : as, die, dying ; vie, 
lie, lying. 


The final y of a primitive word, when preceded by a vowel, should not be 
changed into i before any additional termination : as, day, days ; key, keys ; guy, 
: rulli'i/. vti1Ii>ys; coy, coyly ; cloy, cloys, cloyed; boy, boyish, boyhood; an- 
. "nii'iijnnce ; /"// joyless, joyful. 

. 1. From lay, pay, say, and stay, are formed laid, paid, said, and staid ; 
t the regular words, layrd, payed, stayed, are sometimes used. 2. Raiment, contracted 
from in r written with the y. 3. Daily is more common than the regular 

"rm dayly ; but gayly, gaycty, and (jay ness, are justly superseding gaily and gaiety. 


ending in ize or ise sounded alike, as in wise and size, generally take 
H- r in nil such as arc es.-vntially formed by means of the termination; and the s 
in mnnnsyllabk's. and all such as are essentially formed by means of prefixes: as, 
f/nninf/ii/f'~ f ', <ij>nh(jize, brnt<ili~i>, canonize, pilyriniize, philosophize, cauterize, 
ana'lo n/>/fi:<', aympnthlze. disort/miizc, with z ; f rise, arise, disguise, advise, 
. rii-i'innrisi", despise, surmise, surprise, comprise, compromise, 
. with s. 

itechise, chastise, criticise,^, exercise, exorcise, and merchandise. 

<n ft. ami han'lirrnftfman, appear to have been corruptly written for handwork, hand- 
:::rrly in ^<KI,I use, and consequently obtained a place in our vocab- 

v.hi. h ii.. 1. xi-..-.'r:i|.liiT. s.. far &a I know, has yet thought fit to discard them; but, being 
i ng obsolete, or at least showing a tendency to throw off these questionable 
-ome dictionaries ; and handiwork seems likely 
fr.iin which .li.liii.-. 'ii MI]. poses it to have been fornii-<l. s I'anlm xlx, 

I. Tin- shfii-nh his hnniihiT.Tk." Johnson's Diet. " And the flr- 

- ^n.n's r><>Ar ; firurr's Bible ; Harrison's Gram. p. 83 "And the fir- 

Bible; Harrison's Gram, p 103. 
. TII, ination izf, afterwards assumes a prefix, to make 
ii-f. In such ;i - must of 

.1 .r i.riiiinry fnnuatioii of both fnuii tlie \vcr.l organ 
ie, and the like, are e->entially or 
nnizt, and recognize, 

lioh I have noted am t,v \\Iii.-li method we ought to suppose 

\cl'.-fii f.n '..-.irl\ -all OCben, ti ! f erj j.l-iin , an. I though 

' I'-r .!, n rule as the forep-ii'^. the v<.ice ..f general custom 

in this as in iu"-t .;her j.i.Mits or |.riiuiiilc> <>i' orthography, aud, surely, some rule in this case is 
rvatlv i - 

>; <. i< tli- orthography of Johnson. Walker, Webster, .Tone?, Prott. flolle?, Chalmers, Cohb, 
ipell i' in liN ((.nipn-h.-n-iv.- Dictionarj <>f 1-:)1. hut. in his fniversal 
rrott it "Hi r. a- ,ii,i Bailey in his folio, about a hundred years ago. 
the z conforms to the foregoing rule, and the s does not. 


are most commonly written with s ; and size, assize, capsize, analyze, oi-rrprize, dctonize, 
and r.-cognize, with 2. How many of them are real exceptions to the rule, it is difficult 
to say. 2. Prise, a thing taken, and prize, to esteem ; apprise, to inform, and apprize, to 
value, or appraise, are often written either way, without this distinction of meaning, 
which some wish to establish. 3. The want of the foregoing rule has also made many 
words variable, Avhich ought, unquestionably, to conform to the general principle. 


Compounds generally retain the Orthography of the simple words which compose 
them : as, wherein, horseman, uphill, shellfish, knee-deep, kneedgrass, kneading- 
trough, innkeeper, skylight, plumtree, mandrill. 

EXCEPTIONS. 1. In permanent compounds, or in any derivatives of which they are 
not the roots, the words fall and all drop one I ; as, 'handful, careful, fulfill, always, 
although, icithal : in temporary compounds, they retain both; as, full-eyed, chock-full,* 
all-ioisc, save-all. 2. So the prefix mis (if from miss, to err,) drops one s; but it is wrong 
to drop them both, as in Johnson's "mispcll" and "mispeiid,' for misspell and misspend. 
3. In the names of days, the word mass also drops one s ; as, Christinas, Candlemas, 
Lammas. 4. The possessive case often drops the apostrophe; as in herdsman, kitesfoot. 
5. One letter is dropped, if three of the same kind come together : as, Rosshire, chaffinch ; 
or else a hyphen is used : as, Ross-shire, ill-looking, still-life. 6. Chilblain, welcome, and 
welfare, drop one /. 7. Shepherd, wherever, and whosever, drop an e ; and wherefore and 
therefore assume one. 


Any word for the spelling of which we have no rule but usage, is written wrong 
if not spelled according to the usage which is most common among the learned : 
as, " The brewer grinds his malt before he brues his beer." Red Book, p. 38. 


OBS. 1 . The foregoing rules aim at no wild and impracticable reformation of our 
orthography ; but, if carefully applied, they will do much to obviate its chief difficul- 
ties. .Being made variable by the ignorance of some writers and the caprice of others, 
our spelling is now, and always has been, exceedingly irregular and unsettled. Uni- 
formity and consistency can be attained in no other way, than by the steady application 
of rules and principles ; and these must be made as few and as general as the case 
will admit, that the memory of the learner may not be overmatched by their num- 
ber or complexity. Rules founded on the analogy of similar words, and sanctioned 
by the usage of careful writers, must be taken as our guides ; because common practice 
is often found to be capricious, contradictory, and uncertain. That errors and inconsis- 
tencies abound, even in the books which are proposed to the world as standards of English 
orthography, is a position which scarcely needs proof. It is true, to a greater or less 
extent, of all the spelling-books and dictionaries that I have seen, and probably of all 
that have ever been published. And as all authors are liable to mistakes, which others 
may copy, general rules should have more weight than particular examples to the con- 
trary. " The right spelling of a word may be said to be that which agrees the best 
with its pronunciation, its etymology, and with the analogy of the particular class of 
words to which it belongs." Philological Museum, Vol. i, p. 647. 

OBS. 2. I do not deny that great respect is due to the authority of our lexicogra- 
phers, or that great improvement was made in the orthography of our language when 
Dr. Johnson put his hand to the work. But sometimes one man's authority may offset 
an other's; and he that is inconsistent with himself, destroys his own : for, surely, his 
example cannot be paramount to his principles. Much has been idly said, both for and 
against the adoption of Johnson's Dictionary, or Webster's, as the criterion of what is 
right or wrong in spelling ; but it would seem that no one man's learning is sufficiently 
extensive, or his memory sufficiently accurate, to be solely relied on to furnish a standard 
by which we may in all cases be governed. Johnson was generally right ; but, like 
other men, he was sometimes wrong. He erred sometimes in his principles, or in their 
application ; as when he adopted the k in such words as rlietorick and dcmoniack ; or 

* Like this, the compound brim-full ought to be written with a hyphen and accented on the last syllable ; 
but all our lexicographers have corrupted it into brim '/;//, and, contrary to the aurhoiiries they quote, ac- 
cented it on tho first. Tiitir noun brimfulnest, with a like accent, is also a corruption: and the text of 
Shakspeare. which they quote for it, is nonsense, unless brim be there made a separate adjective : 

" With ample and brimfulnff* of his force. 1 ' Johnson's Diet, et al. 

" With ample and brim fullness of his force," would be better. 


when he inserted the in such words as t//,r- rnovr, irarriour, stipcriour. Neither of 

generally adopted, in any tiling like the number of 

words to which lie applied them ; or ever will be ; though some indiscreet compilers are 

still /onlously end. avou'.'hig to impose them upon the public, as tlie true way of spelling. 

He also erred sometimes />>/ ri<;-t',l,'//>. or oversight; a.s when he spelled thus : " i\-<-<tll and 

finill and h.f/>.~ . '' and d<nr,ij\il, l'ii/*tnll and thumbxtnl, tntta-fall and 

<',t>, ,,i <!,-in!l and (liuuihil 1 , irtndniiU and ti<-ibi(, uphill and doiriihil." This occasional 

excision of the letter / is reprehensible, because it is contrary to general analogy, and 

.vise both ! -ary to preserve the sound, and show the derivation of 

tlie . Walker censure- it as a "ridiculous irregularity," and lays the blame 

of it on the "/ : d >e- not venture to correct it ! See Johnson's Diction - 

. :ir>t American edition, quarto: Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary, under the word 

/////, and his Rhyming Dictionary, Introd. p. xv. 

;. " Dr. Johnson's Dictionary " has been represented by some as having " nearly 
fixed the external form of our language." lint Murray, who quotes this from Dr. 
Nares admits, at the same time, that, "The orthography of a great number of Knglish 
word-,, is far from being uniform, even amongst writers of distinction." Gram. p. 25. 
And, after commending this work of Johnson's, as A STANDARD, from which, "it i> ear- 
be hoped, that no author will henceforth, on light grounds, be temptod to 
innovate," he adds, "This Dictionary, however, contains some orthographical inconsis- 
tencies which ought to be rectified : such a<, immovable, moreable ; c/iasfcly, clnt.^ 
fi'rtt / . si mess, slyly ; fearlessly, fcarl-esncts ; needfasntss, needlesly." Ib. In 

respe-Tt to the final ck and our, he also i/>tc>i('<>/><i!/>/ departs fruin Tin: STA.VDAIM) irhii-Ji he 
thus .erring, in that, the authority of ll'al^r's Rhipni.i'f Dictfumiri/, from 

which lie borrowed liis rules for spelling. For, against the use of k at the end of 
words from the learned lan^uuges, and au:iiii-t tl:e it in many words in which Johnson 
n the authority, not only of general usage now, but of many grammari- 
ans who were contemporary with Johnson, and of more than a dozen lexicographers, 
ancient (U iniong whom is Walker himself. In. this, therefore, Murray's prac- 

- commended standard dictionary, wrong. 

Oil'. 4. Of words ending in or or our, we have about three hundred and twenty ; 
of which not more than forty cm i,ow with any propriety be written with the latter 
tc rmination. Aiming to write according to the best usage of the present day, I insert 
in >o many of these- words as now seem most familiar to the eye when so written ; 
but I have no partiality for any letters that can well be spared ; and if this book should 
ever, by any good fortune, happen to be reprinted, after honour, labour, favour, bchaciour, 
and . -hall have become as unfashionable as authour, crruur, fervour, and CIHJJC- 

rnirr, are now, let the proof-reader strike out the useless letter not only from these 
words, but from all others which shall bear an equally antiquated appearance. 

OBS. o. I h te I the above-mentioned imperfections in Dr. Johnsons ortho- 

graphy, merely to justify the liberty which 1 take of spelling otherwise; and not with 
any view to give a preference to that of Dr. II, ^ /, who is now contending for the 
honour of having furnished a more correct stnnrli.trd. For the latter author, though 
right in some things in which the former was wrong, is, on the whole, still more erro- 
neous and ineon.-i.stcnt. In his various attempts at reformation in our orthography, he 
has spelled many hundreds of words in .such a variety of ways, that he knows not at 
la-t which of them i- 1 which are wroiu'. But in respect to dfjiuiti-n^, he has 

done tforl service to our literature ; nor have his critics been sufficiently just respecting 
ill hi- i.m n iti >.i-." * To omit the k from su.-ii words as publtck t or the 
** fr' , ''>n; it is but ignorance that censures 

the general practice, under that name. Tlie I . ;.>r Johnson and opponents of 

iter, \\ho are now so /.ealously stickling for the / and the u in these cases, ought 
to know tnat they are contending for what was obsolete, or obsolescent, when Dr. 
Johnson ^ 

OHS. i\. I h; ed that some of the grammarians who were contempo- 

rary with Johnson, did not adopt hi> pr.i:-ti-e respivtins the k or the u, in jnib.'ii-k, 
. And iml -c I 1 a-n not sure there were any who did. Dr. 

Johnson was birn in lied in 17SL lint Brightland's Grammar, which 

MM.- written durisi-j th. r. :i Amu-, who die I in 171 1, in treating of the letter 

[f in any Word the harder Sound p., . k /), or (i/), (/,-) is cither added 

or put in its I'l ., \-ul tho' the a.ldiiionul (/,-) in the fore, 

in.,' Word be an old M",/ / ,^tly left off, .ur- 

nuous Lettor ; I-T ( ) at the Ivi .ition, Lond. 17-i !, ]). 

Ous. 7. Tlie -lev, an. I Lnvth, all appeared, in their 

See Cobb'fl Critical Review of the Orthography of Webster 


first editions, about one time ; all, if I mistake not, in the year 1758 ; and none of these 
learned doctors, it would seem, used the mode of spelling now in question. In Ash, of 
1799, we have such orthography as this : " Italics, public, domestic, our traffic, music, 
quick ; error, superior, warrior, authors, honour, humour, favour, behaviour." In 
Priestley, of 1772 : "Iambics, dactyls, dactylic, anapaestic, monosyllabic, electric, public, 
critic ; author, emperor's, superior ; favour, labours, neighbours, laboured, vigour, 
endeavour ; meagre, hillock, bailiwick, bishoprick, control, travelling." In Lowth, of 
1799 : " Comic, critic, characteristic, domestic ; author, favor, favored, endeavored, alledging, 
foretells." Now all these are words in the spelling of which Johnson and Webster con- 
tradict each other ; and if they are not all right, surely they would not, on the whole, 
be made more nearly right, by being conformed to either of these authorities exclusively. 
For THE BEST USAGE is the ultimate rule of grammar. 

OBS. 8. The old British Grammar, written before the American Revolution, and 
even before " the Learned Mr. Samuel Johnson " was doctorated, though it thus respect- 
fully quotes that great scholar, does not follow him in the spelling of which I am treat- 
ing. On the contrary, it abounds with examples of words ending in ic and or, and not 
in ick and our, as he wrote them ; and I am confident, that, from that time to this, the 
former orthography has continued to be more common than his. Walker, the orthoepist, 
who died in 1807, yielded the point respecting the k, and ended about four hundred and 
fifty words with c in his Rhyming Dictionary ; but he thought it more of an innovation 
than it really was. In his Pronouncing Dictionary, he says, " It has been a custom, 
within these twenty years, to omit the k at the end of words, when preceded by c. This 
has introduced a novelty into the language, which is that of ending a word with an unu- 
sual letter," &c. "This omission of k is, however, too general to be counteracted, even 
by the authority of Johnson ; but it is to be hoped it will be confined to words from the 
learned languages." Walker's Principles of Pronunciation, No. 400. The tenth edition 
of Burn's Grammar, dated 1810, says, "It has become customary to omit k after c at 
the end of dissyllables and trissyllables, &c. as music, arithmetic, logic ; but the k is re- 
tained in monosyllables ; as, back, deck, rick, &c." P. 25. James Buchanan, of whose 
English Syntax there had been five American editions in 1792, added no k to such, words; 
as didactic, critic, classic, of which he made frequent use ; and though he wrote honour 
labour, and the like, with u, as they are perhaps most generally written now, he insertec. 
no u in error, author, or any of those words in which that letter would now be inconsis- 
tent with good taste. 

OBS. 9. Bickiiell's Grammar, of 1790, treating of the letter k, says, "And for tho 
same reason we have dropt it at the end of words after c, which is there always hard ; at; 
in publick, logick, &c. which are more elegantly written public, logic." Part ii, p. 13, 
Again : " It has heretofore joined with c at the end of words ; as publick, logick ; but, as 
before observed, being there quite superfluous, it is now left out." Ib. p. 16. Horno 
Tooke's orthography was also agreeable to the rule which I have given on this subject. 
So is the usage of David Booth : " Formerly a k was added, as, rustick, politick, Arith- 
metick, &c. but this is now in disuse." Booth's Introd. to Diet. Lond. 1814, p. SO. 

OBS. 10. As the authors of many recent spelling-books Cobb, Emerson, Burhans, 
Bolles, Sears, Marshall, Mott, and others are now contending for this "superfluous 
letter" in spite of all the authority against it, it seems proper briefly to notice their 
argument, lest the student be misled by it. It is summed up by one of them in the 
following words : "In regard to k after c at the end of words, it may be sufficient to say, 
that its omission has never been attempted, except in a small portion of the cases where 
it occurs ; and that it tends to an erroneous pronunciation of derivatives, as in mimick, 
mimicking, where, if the k were omitted, it would read mimicing ; and as c before i is 
always sounded like s, it must be pronounced mi/nising. Now, since it is never omitted 
in monosyllables, where it most frequently occurs, as in block, clock, &c., and can be in a 
part only of polysyllables, it is thought better to preserve it in all cases, by which we have 
one general rule, in place of several irregularities and exceptions that must follow its 
partial omission." 'Bolles' s Spelling -Book, p. 2. I need not tell the reader that these 
two sentences evince great want of care or skill in the art of grammar. But it is proper 
to inform him, that we have in our language eighty-six monosyllables which end with 
ck, and from them about fifty compounds or derivatives, which of course keep the same 
termination. To these may be added a dozen or more which seem to be of doubtful 
formation, such as huckaback, pickapack, gimcrack, ticktack, picknick, barrack, knapsack, 
Jwllyhock, shamrock, hammock, hillock, hommock, bullock, roebuck. But the verbs on which 
this argument is founded are only six ; attack, ransack, traffick, frolick, mimick, and physick ; 
and these, unquestionably, must either be spelled with the k, or must assume it in their 
derivatives. Now that useful class of words which are generally and properly written 
with final c, are about four hundred and fifty in number, and are all of them cither adjec- 
tives or nouns of regular derivation from the learned languages, being words of more 


than one syllabic, which have come to us from Greek or Latin roots. But what has the 
doubling otV by /.-, in our native monosyllables and their derivatives, to do with all these 
L' foreign origin : For the reason of the matter, we might as well double the /, 
as our an . in natural/. ti'tp<>ra//, spiritual/, Nrc. 

11. The learner should observe that some letters incline much to a duplication, 
while some others are doubled but seldom, and some, never. Thus, among the vowels, 
ee and oo occur frequently ; an i* used sometimes; ii, never except in certain Latin 
words, ( wherein the v<> naratcly uttered,) such as Horatii, I'rii, iidt-m, //////. 

A'^iin, tlie doubling of is precluded by the fact that we have a distinct letter called 
', which was made by joining two Vees, or two Ues, when the form for u was /-. 
So, among the consonants,/, /, and s, incline more to duplication, than any others. These 
letters arc double, not only at the end of those monosyllables which have but one vowel, 
. mill, pass; but also under some other circumstances. According to general 
.::ial/ i> doubled after a single vowel, in almost all cases ; as in bailiff, caitiff, plain- 
////','. sheriff, tariff, mastiff: yet not in calif, which is perhaps better written caliph. 
Final /. by Rule 8th, admits not now of a duplication like this ; but, by 

; it ions to Rule 4th, it is frequently doubled when no other consonant would be ; 
as in trin-rlliiiii, ;/>< -,-//iny ; unless, (contrary to the opinion of Lowth, Walker, and Web- 
ster,) we will \M\\vJilUpping, gossipping, and icorshipping, to be needful exceptions also. 
1'2. Final * sometimes occurs single, as in alas, atlas, bias; and especially in 
Latin upetus ; and when it is added to form plurals, as verse, verses : but 

this letter, too, is generally doubled at the end of primitive words of more than one syl- 
lable ; as in i-iiri-ti-xfi, compass, cuirass, harass, trespass, r//' / //-/v/.v.v. On the contrary, the other 
uts are seldom doubled, except when they come under Rule 3d. The letter p, 
i , is commonly doubled, in some words, even when it forms a needless exception 
to Rule 4th ; as in the derivatives from fillip, gossip, and perhaps also worship. This 
letter, too, was very frequently doubled in Greek ; whence we have, from the name of 
Philip of Macedon, "the words Pk&ppie and I'hilippizr, which, if spelled according to our 
rule for such derivatives, would, like galloped and i/ail >] r, sirup, il and siruptj, have but 
We find them so written in some late dictionaries. But if Ji Hipped, gossippccl, and 
worshipped, with the other derivatives from the same roots, are just and necessary excep- 
i Rule 4th, (which I do not admit,) so are these; and for a much stronger reason, 
il scholar will think. In our language, or in words purely English, the 
',J\ k, <!> *' "> x, andy, are, properly speaking, never doubled. Yet, in the form- 
of compounds, it may possibly happen, that two Aitches, two Kays, or even two 
uble-ucs, or Wies shall come together; as in withhold, brickkiln, slowworm, bay-yarn, 
r.-. 13. There are some words as those which come from metal, medal, coral, 
. tranquil, pupil, papil in which the classical scholar is apt to 

violate the analogy of English derivation, by doubling the letter I, because he remembers 
the // of their foreign roots, or their foreign correspondents. But let him also remember, 
that, if a knowledge of etymology may be shown, by spelling metallic, metalliferous, 
metallography, metallurgic, metallurgist, metallurgy, medallic, medallion, crystallixe, 
crystalline, argillous, argillaceous, axillar, axillary, cavillous, cavillation, papillate, 
papillous, papillary, tranquillity, and pupillary, with double /, ignorance of it must needs 
DO implied in spelling metaline, metal^t, metaloid, metaloidal, medalist, coralaceous, 
coralinc, coralite, coralinitc, coraloid, coraloidal, crystalite, argilitc, argilitic, tranquilize, 
and pupilage, in like manner. But we cannot well double the / in the former, and not 
in the latter \v<.nl>. II. r< is a choice of difficulties. Etymology must govern orthogra- 
y. But what etymology r our own, or that which is foreign: If we say, both, they 
; and the mere English scholar cannot know when, or how far, to be guided by 
tin diminutive, as papilla from papula or papa, pupillus from ptipus, or 
nautilus from (runs and t/itirtnx, happen to double an /, must we forever cling to the re- 
uplication, and that, in spite of our own rules to the contrary: Why is it more objec- 
tionable to change pupillaris to pupilary, than pupilltts to jnijiil f or, to change tramjuillitas 
I'ilify, than traiujiiillus to tranquil f And since pajti/nns, jinjiiltti/f, and trmxjuilize 
are formed from the English \vords, and not directly from the Latin, why is it not as 
improper to write them with double /, as to write y,< rilous, vassalage, and c'ivili:c, in the 

14. If the practice of the learned would allow us to follow the English rule 
: >hould incline to the opinion, that all the words which I have mentioned above, 
ought to be written with single /. Ainsworth exhibits the Latin word for coral in four 
forms, and the (Jreek word in three. Two of the Latin and two of the Greek have the 
gle ; the others double it. He also spells " corn/if i<n.s" with one /, and defines it 
A sort of white marble, called coralinc."* The Spaniards, from whose mcdalla, we 

* According to Littleton, the corcditicus lapis waa a kind of Phrygian marble, called Coralius, or by an 


have medal ; whose argil* is arcilla, from the Latin argilla ; and to whose cai'ihir, Web- 
ster traces cavil ; in all their derivatives from these Latin roots, metaUum, metal cora- 
lium, corallium, ciiralium, or corallum, coral crystallus or cry stall urn, crystal pupillus, 
pupil and tranquillus, tranquil follow their own rules, and write mostly with single 
1: as, pupilero, a teacher ; metalico, metalic ; coralina (fern.) coraline ; cristalino, crysta- 
line ; cristalizar, crystalize ; traquilizar, tranquiiize ; and tranquilidad, tranquility. And if 
we follow not ours, when or how shall the English scholar ever know why we spell as 
we do ? For example, what can lie make of the orthography of the following words, 
which I copy from our best dictionaries : equip', eq'uipage ; wor'ship, wor'shipper ; 
peril, perilous ; cavil, cavillousf ; libel, libellous ; quarrel, quarrelous ; opal, opaline; 
metal, metalline]: ; coral, coralliform ; crystal, crystalform ; dial, dialist ; medal, med- 
allist; rascal, rascalion; medal, medallion; moral, moralist, morality; metal, metal- 
list, metallurgy; civil, civilize, civility ; tranquil, tranquillize, tranquillity; novel, 
novelism, novelist, novelize ; grovel, grovelling, grovelled, groveller ? 

OBS. 15. The second clause of Murray's or Walker's 5th Rule for spelling, gives only 
a single I to each of the derivatives above named. But it also treats ia like manner 
many hundreds of words in which the / must certainly be doubled. And, as neither 
" the Compiler," nor any of his copiers, have paid any regard to their own principle, 
neither their doctrine nor their practice can be of much weight either way. Yet it is 
important to know to what words the rule is, or is not, applicable. In considering this 
vexatious question about the duplication of I, I was at first inclined to admit that, when- 
ever final I has become single in English by dropping the second I of a foreign root, the 
word shall resume the // in all derivatives formed from it by adding a termination begin- 
ning with a vowel; as, beryllus, beryl, berylline. This would, of course, double the /in 
nearly all the derivatives from metal, medal, &c. But what says custom ? She constantly 
doubles the I in most of them ; but wavers in respect to some, and in a few will have it 
single. Hence the difficulty of drawing a line by which we may abide without censure. 
Pupillage and pupil'lary, with II, are according to Walker's Rhyming Dictionary ; but 
Johnson spells them pu'pilage and pupilary, with single I ; and Walker, in his Pronoun- 
cing Dictionary, has pupilage with one I, and pupillary with two. Again : both John- 
son's and the Pronouncing Dictionary, give us medallist and metallist with II, and are 
sustained by Webster and others ; but Walker, in his Rhyming Dictionary, writes them 
medalist and metalist, with single I, like dialist, formalist, cabalist, herbalist, and twenty 
other such words. Farther : Webster doubles the / in all the derivatives of metal, med- 
al, coral, axil, argil, m\(\. papil ; but writes it single in all those of crystal, cavil, pupil, and 
tranquil except tranquillity. 

OBS. 16. Dr. Webster also attempts, or pretends, to put in practice the hasty propo- 
sition of Walker, to spell with single I all derivatives from words ending in / not under 
the accent. " No letter," says Walker, " seems to be more frequently doubled improp- 
erly than /. Why we should write libelling, levelling, revelling, and yet offering, suffer ing, 
reasoning, I am totally at a loss to determine ; and, unless / can give a better plea than 
any other letter in the alphabet, for being doubled in this situation, I must, in the style 
of Lucian, in his trial of the letter T, declare for an expulsion." Rhyming Diet. p. x. 
This rash conception, being adopted by some men of still less caution, has wrought great 
mischief in our orthography. With respect to words ending in el, it is a good and suffi- 
cient reason for doubling the I, that the e may otherwise be supposed servile and silent. 
I have therefore made this termination a general exception to the rule against doubling. 
Besides, a large number of these words, being derived from foreign words in which the 
I was doubled, have a second reason for the duplication, as strong as that which has 
often induced these same authors to double that letter, as noticed above. Such are 
bordel, chapel, duel, fardel, gabel, gospel, gravel, lamel, label, libel, marvel, model, 
novel, parcel, quarrel, and spinel. Accordingly we find, that, in his work of expulsion, 
Dr. Webster has not unfrequently contradicted himself, and conformed to usage, by 
doubling the I where he probably intended to write it single. Thus, in the words bor- 

Other name ffangarius." But this substance seems to be different from all that are described by Webster, un- 
der the names of" coralline.," " r.orallinite," and u corullite." !*ee Webster's Octavo Diet. 

* The Greek word for argil is ayyi7.uc, or iiyjA/o, (from aoyo?, white,) meaning pure white earth ; and 
is a.s often spelled with one Lambda as with two. 

1 Dr. Webster, with apparent propriety, writes caviling and cavilovs with one I, like dialing ;>nd perilous; 
but he has in general no mure uniformity than Johnson, in respect to the doubling of / final, lit also, in 
some instances, accents similar words variously ; as, cor'nlliform, upon the first ay liable, metal liform, upon 
the second; cav'noiis and jif>'illous, upon the first, argil'lous, upon the second ; ax'illar, upou tU first. . - 
dul'lar, upon the second. Sec \\'eb*ter's Octaro Diet. 

I Perry wrote cri/, crystalize, cr totalization, metaline, metalist, metalurgist, and metftlurgy and thcs,. 
forms, as well as crystalogrupliy, mi-talic, mttalograpky, and metaliferous, are noticed and preferred by the 
authors of the Red Book, on pp. 268 and 802. 

" But if a diphthong precedes, or the accent is on the preceding syllable, the consonant remains single: 
as, to toil, toiling; to offer, an offering." Murray's Octavo Gram. p. 24 ; Walker's Rlujni. Di.t. lutrod. p. ix. 


dellcr, chapellany, chapelling, gospellary, gospeller, gravelly, lamellate, lamellar, lam- 
cllarly, lamclliibrm, and spineUane, he has written the / double, while he has grossly 
corrupted many other similar words by forbearing the reduplication ; as, traveler, grov- 
eling, <lm-!u>t, marvelous, and the like. In cases of such dithculty, we can never arrive at 
uniformity and consistency of practice, unless we resort to principles, and such principles 
as can be made intelligible to the English scholar. If any one is dissatisfied with the 
rules ami exceptions which I have laid down, let him. study the subject till he can fur- 
nish the schools with better. 

On-. 17. We have in our language a very numerous class of adjectives ending in 
(Ale or ible, as affable, arable, tolerable, admissible, credible, infallible, to the number of nine 
hundred or more. In respect to the proper form and signification of some of these, there 
oivurs no small difficult}. Able is a common English w T ord, the meaning of which is 
much better understood than its origin. Home Tooke supposes it to have come from 
the Gothic noun abal, signifying xtfen>/th ; and consequently avers, that it " has nothing 
to do with the Latin adjective habilis,fit, or able, from which our etymologists erroneous- 
ly derive it." Diversions of Purley, ii, p. 450. This I suppose the etymologists will dis- 
pute with him. But whatever may be its true derivation, no one can well deny that able, 
as a suffix, belongs most properly, if not exclusively, to verbs for most of the worda 
formed by it, are plainly a sort of verbal adjectives. And it is evident that this author 
is right in supposing that English words of this termination, like the Latin verbals in 
bills, have, or ought to have, such a signification as may justify the name which he 
reives them, of " potential pass iv<: adjectives ; " a signification in which the English and the 
Latin derivatives exactly correspond. Thus dis'soluble or dissoh-'able does not mean able to 
. but capable of being dissolved ; and divisible or dividable does not mean able to divide t 
but </ ' ,/v dicidcd. 

Ous. IS. As to the application of this suffix to nouns, when we consider the signifi- 
cation of the words thus formed, its propriety may well be doubted. It is true, how- 
ever, that nouns do sometimes assume something of the nature of verbs, so as to give 
rise to adjectives that are of a participial character; such, for instance, as sainted, bigoted, 
-',->/, tuff ft!. Ai;ain, of such as hard-hearted, good-natured, cold-blooded, we 
indefinite number. And perhaps, upon the same principle, the formation of 
such words as actionable, companionable, exceptionable, marketable, merchantable, pasturable, 
treasonable, and so forth, may be justified, if care be taken to use them in a sense analo- 
gous to that of the real verbals. But, surely, the meaning which is commonly attached 
to the words amicable, changeable, fashionable, favourable, peaceable, reasonable, pleasurable, 
seasonable, suitable, and some others, would never be guessed frojn their formation. Thus, 
suitable means fitting or suiting, and not able to suit, or capable of being suited. 

19. Though all words that terminate in able, used as a suffix, are properly 
reckoned derivatives, rather than compounds, and in the former class the separate 
meaning of the parts united is much less regarded than in the latter ; yet, in the use of 
words of this formation, it would be well to have some respect to the general analogy of 
their signification as stated above; and not to make derivatives of the same fashion 
convey nn-anin^s so very different as do some of these. Perhaps it is from some general 
notion of their impropriety, that several words of this doubtful character have already 
become obsolete, or are gradually falling into disuse : as, accustomablc, chanceablc, concord- 
able, co ', bekoovable, leixurahle, nuilicinable, personable, powcrable, razorablc, 
shapab' , ' critabk. Still, there arc several others, yet currently em- 

\\ hit h mi;*ht better perhaps, for the same reason, give place to more regular terms : 
. t >r ///r//<7/i/or kiml ; churitabb; for benevolent or liberal; colourable, for apparent 
\ruithustil' '', , far pleasing Qi delightful ; profo- 

: gainful or lucrative ; sociable, for social or a/fubf- ,><>, for rational or Just. 

20. In respect to the orthography of words ending in able or ible, it is sometimes 
difficult to determine which of these endings ought to be preferred ; as whether we ought 
to write /enable or - or reversible, addable or a-ldible. In Latin, the termi- 

nation is bilis, and the preceding vowel is determined by the conjugation to which the 
verb belongs. Thus, for verbs of the first conjugation, it is a ; as, from ararc, to plough, 
c.rabilix, arablr, tillable. For the second conjugation, it is i; as, from doclre, to teach, 
c'ocibilis or docllis, docibk or docile, teachable. For the third conjugation, it is i; &s t 
irom rt'Hdfff, to soil, rnulibif, . . salable. And, for the fourth conjugation, it is t; 

f-s, from si-iirlii-,', to bu;-\ . - 1 ible *, buriable. But from solvo and volvo, of the 

third conjugation, we have ubilis, ublc ; as,solubilis, sol'uble, solvible or solvable ; volubilis, 
rol'n'iU; Tollable. Hence the English words, rev oluble rcs'oluble, irr^'oltMe, d&sokMe, 

'"hi", and insol'ublc. Thus the Latin verbals in bills, are a sufficient guide to the 
orthography of all such words as are traceable to them ; but the mere English scholar 

Johnson, Walker, and Webster, all spell this word srp ilihle ; which is obviously wrong; Mis Johnson's 
derivation of it from se^io, to hedge in. Sfpio would make, not this word, but sepibilis and sepibU, hedgeable. 



cannot avail himself of this aid ; and of this sort of words we have a mnch greater num- 
ber than were ever known in Latin. A few we have borrowed from the French : as, 
tenable, capable, preferable, convertible ; and these we write as they are written in French. 
But the difficulty lies chiefly in those which are of English growth. For some of them 
are formed according to the model of the Latin verbals in ibilis ; as forcible, coercible, 
reducible, discernible : and others are made by simply adding the suffix able ; as traceable, 
pronounceable , manageable, advisable, returnable. The last are purely English ; and yet 
they correspond in form with such as come from Latin verbals in abilis. 

OBS. 21. From these different modes of formation, with the choice of different roots, 
we have sometimes two or three words, differing in orthography and pronunciation, but 
conveying the same meaning ; as, divisible and divi'dable, despicable and despi'sable, refera- 
ble and refer'ribk, mis'cible and mix'able, dis'soluble, dissol'vible, and dissol'vable. Hence, 
too, we have some words which seem to the mere English scholar to be spelled in a 
very contradictory manner, though each, perhaps, obeys the law of its own derivation ; as, 
peaceable and forcible, impierceable and coercible, marriageable and corrigible, damageable and 
eligible, changeable and tangible, chargeable and frangible, fencible and defensible, preferable 
and referrible, conversable and reversible, defendable and descendible, amendable and extendi- 
ble, bendable and vendible, dividable and corrodible, returnable and discernible, indispensable and 
responsible, advisable and fusible, respectable and compatible, delectable and collectible, taxa- 
ble and flexible. 

OBS. 22. The American editor of the Red Book, to whom all these apparent incon- 
sistencies seemed real blunders, has greatly exaggerated this difficulty in our orthography, 
and charged Johnson and "Walker with having written all these words and many more, 
in this contradictory manner, " without any apparent reason ! " He boldly avers, that, 
" The perpetual contradictions of the same or like words, in all the books, show that the 
authors had no distinct ideas of what is right, and what is wrong ; " and ignorantly 
imagines, that, *' The use of ible rather than able, in any case, originated in the necessity 
of keeping the soft sound of c and g, in the derivatives ; and if ible was confined to that 
use, it would be an easy and simple rule." Red Book, p. 170. Hence, he proposes to 
write peacible for peaceable, tracible for traceable, changible for changeable, managible for 
manageable; and so for all the rest that come from words ending in ce or ge. But, what- 
ever advantage there might be in this, his " easy and simple rule " would work a revolu- 
tion for which the world is not yet prepared. It would make audible audable, fallible 
fallable, feasible feasable, terrible terrable, horrible horrable, &c. No tyro can spell in a worse 
manner than this, even if he have no rule at all. And those who do not know enough 
of Latin grammar to profit by what I have said in the preceding observation, may con- 
Bole themselves with the reflection, that, in spelling these difficult words entirely by 
guess, they will not miss the way more than some have done who pretended to be 
critics. The rule given by John Burn, for able and ible, is less objectionable ; but it is 
rendered useless by the great number of its exceptions. 

OBS. 23. As most of the rules for spelling refer to the final letters of our 
primitive words, it may be proper for the learner to know and remember, that not 
all the letters of the alphabet can assume that situation, and that some of them termin- 
.ate words much more frequently than others. Thus, in Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, 
the letter a ends about 220 words ; b, 160 ; c, 450 ; d, 1550 ; e, 7000 ; /, 140 ; g, 280 ; h, 
400 ; i, 29 ; ./, none ; k, 550 ; I, 1900 ; m, 550 ; n, 3300 : o, 200 ; p, 450 ; g, none ; r, 2750 ; 
*, 3250 ; t, 3100 ; u, 14 ; v, none ; w, 200 ; x, 100 ; y, 5000 ; z, 5. We have, then, three 
consonants, j, q, and v, which never end a word. And why not ? With respect to j 
and v, the reason is plain from their history. These letters were formerly identified 
with i and u, which are not terminational letters. The vowel i ends no pure English 
word, except that which is formed of its own capital/; and the few words which end 
with u are all foreign, except thou and you . And not only so, the letter j is what was 
formerly called i consonant; and v is what was called u consonant. But it was the 
initial i and u, or the i and u which preceded an other vowel, and not those which 
followed one, that were converted into the consonants,/ and v. Hence, neither of these 
letters ever ends any English word, or is ever doubled. Nor do they unite with other 
consonants before or after a vowel : except that v is joined with r in a few words of 
French origin, as livre, manoeuvre ; or with I in some Dutch names, as Watervleit. Q 
ends no English word, because it is always followed by u. The French termination 
cue, which is commonly retained in pique, antique, critique, opaque, oblique, burlesque, 
and grv igue, is equivalent to k; hence we write packet, lackey, checker, risk, m^k, and 
mosk, rather than paquet, laquey, chequer, risque, masque, and mosque. And some uuthors 
write burlesk and grotesk, preferring k to que. 

OBS. 24. Thus we see that j, q, and v, are, for the most part, initial consonants only. 
Hen co there is a harshness, if not an impropriety, in that syllabication which some have 
recently adopted, wherein they accommodate to the ear the division of such words as 
maj-es-ty, proj-ect, traj-ect, eq-ui-ty, liq-ui-date, ex-chcq-ucr. But v, in a similar situa- 


tion, has now become familiar ; as in ci'-er-y, er-i-dcncc : and it may also stand -with I or 
r, in the division of such words as .s.,/y-//Y/ and \, rr-///y. Of words ending in foe, Walker 
exhibits four hundred and fifty exactly the same number that he spells with ic. And 
Home Tooke, who derives ire from the Latin irus, ( q. d. vis, ) and ic from the Greek 
tai*;, ( q. d. in/r;, ) both implying //'>"-/, has well observed that there is a general cor- 
respondence of meaning between these two classes of adjectives both being of " a po- 
tential active signification ; as j oomitive t op . i cathartic, emetic, ene 1 * 
&c." Din-r.sions of Purley, ii, p. 11-;. I have before observed, that Tooke spelled all this 
latter class of words without the final k ; but he left it to Dr. Webster to suggest the 
reformation of striking the final < from the former. 

'!'>. In Dr. "Webster's "Collection of Essays and Fugitiv Peeces," published iij 
1790, we find, among other equally ingenious improvements of our orthography, a gen- 
eral omission of the final e of all words ending in ive, or rather of all words ending in 

preceded by a short vowel; as, " primitir, derirativ, extensi?, positio, dc* 
proov, luv, har, f/iv, !i>:." This mode of spelling, had it been adopted by other learned 
men, would not only have made r a very frequent final consonant, but would have 
placed it in an other new and strange predicament, as being subject to reduplication. 
For he that will write har, yiv, and lir, must also, by a general rule of grammar, write 
ha i- : ng. And not only so, there will follow also, in the solemn style 

of the Bible, a change of givest, livcst, giceth, and liceth, into givvest, livrest, givreth, and 
livteth. From all this it may appear, that a silent final e is not always quite so u- 
a tl. me may imagine. With a levity no less remarkable, does the author of the 

Red Book propose at once two different ways of reforming the orthography of such 
wnr . i,t,uni(je(ibl<; and so forth; in one of which, the letter j would be 

br<> ; new position, and subjected sometimes to reduplication. "It would be a 

useful improvement to change this c into \, and g into j ; " as, piersable, manajable, &c. " ( )r 
they illicit assume i ;" as, pi< , . . &c. Red Book, p. 170. Now would not 

this " useful improvement " u r ive us such a word as allejjabfo ( and would not one such 
monster be more offensive than all our present exceptions to Rule 9th Out upon all 
such tampering with orthography ! 

y thing could arrest the folly of innovators and dabbling reformers, it 
rould be the history of former attempts to effect improvements similar to theirs. With 
every one would do well to acquaint himself, before he proceeds to 
words by placing their written elements in any new predicament. If the 
rhography of the English language is ever reduced to greater regularity than it now 
:hibits, the reformation must be wrought by those who have no disposition either to 
ite its present detects, or to undertake too much. Regard must be had to the origin, 
well as to the sounds, of words. To many people, all silent letters seem superfluous; 
id all indirect modes of spelling, absurd. Hence, as the learner may perceive, a very 
irge proportion of the variations and disputed points in spelling, are such as refer to 
the silen" I hieh are retained by some writers and omitted by others. It is desir- 

able tha - , a- should be always omitted ; and such a- 

useful and regular always retained. The rules which I have laid down as principles 
: imination, are such as almost evry reader will know to be generally true, an-l 

renu f 'f them have never before been printed in 

any grammar. Their application will strike out some letters which are often written. 
and rctair some which >mitted ; but, if they err on either hand, I am confident 

rhan any other set ol . yet formed for the same purpose. Walker, 

Loin Murray borrowed his rule> for spelling, declares for an expul-ion of the sec- 
ond / from traveller, . . . ;: n</, and all similar words ; seems 
'>p an / in . , i, and drollness, than to 
retain both in vnall ness, fullness, <///// w.s.v, dullness, WOlLfuUm - it one of his or- 
thographical aph fc, " Words taken into composition oft